T-Birds Volleyball still ‘learning’ as team still winless


By: Warren Younger

The T-Birds came into the season looking to improve on last season’s 4-12 record.

The team is still struggling, as they are winless going into the halfway point.

With an 0-7 record in conference, first year head coach Matthew Werle said that it’s a learning process.

“As a program, we need to relearn how to win.  We have agreed as a team that we are not the most physical team in the conference, but we will strive to be the hardest working team day in and day out,” Werle said. “We have been competing the majority of the time during matches.  We are having a few mental lapses that prevent us from winning.  We are trying to cut down the unforced errors and mental lapses.”

The T-Birds have indeed been competitive in most of their matches including the most recent match against Eastern Arizona as the T-Birds only lost by a combined 11 points over the three sets.

Werle still believes it is lack of confidence.

“There is still a lack of confidence within each athlete and the team as a whole,” Werle said.

As a first year head coach Werle commented on the challenges of being the T-Birds head coach.

“This year has definitely been a learning experience for me about expectations.  I was unaware of the quality of volleyball,” Werle said. “Coming from coaching Division I athletes, I am learning that a lot of my players have lives outside of the gym including work.”

However, he also commented on the rewards.

“Even though we are not winning this season, it is still rewarding seeing these girls grow as people,” Werle said. “I am a ‘big picture’ coach.  Athletics are used to help people grow.  Be people of good character.  There are so many life lessons as a collegiate athlete”

When asked if the team can turn it around, he responded by saying they are already doing so.

“As a team, we are starting to see the big picture,” Werle said. “I expect us to start peaking as a team towards the middle to late October.”

With the team sitting at a 0-12 record overall the morale is definitely questionable and Werle agrees.

“The team morale is defeated at times, but they seem to forget quickly after a loss.  This can be good and bad,” Werle said. “As long as they remember how badly it hurts to lose going into the next match.”

Although playoffs are out of reach Werle said there is still a big goal that he thinks the team can accomplish by the end of the season.

“Our goal is to leave the gym every day feeling good about what we did,” Werle said. “I ask that the girls are proud each time they walk away from a practice or match.  If we do that, we will be fully prepared for each match.”

The T-Birds head into the second half of the season with games against Arizona Western and Chandler-Gilbert during the first week of October.

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These are archived stories from Mesa Legend editions before Fall 2018. See article for corresponding author.

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