Missouri Western volleyball

The Missouri Western volleyball team practices spiking and blocking Wednesday at the MWSU Fieldhouse.

The Missouri Western volleyball team began practicing for the first time this week as it starts to prepare for the 2019 season.

Marian Carbin is entering her seventh season as the head coach and is looking to get her team back to its winning ways. Carbin suffered her first losing season a year ago as Western went 15-17, just one year removed from winning Western’s first ever NCAA tournament match. The 2017 MIAA Coach of the Year is already seeing the desire her team has from veterans and newcomers alike.

“The energy and effort in the gym has been really good,” Carbin said. “We are excited about that because we have a lot of new players and sometimes the more nervous they are, the quieter they get, but it’s been really positive. Our returners have welcomed them and the general energy level has been very positive.”

While the season has barely started, Carbin and her staff are expecting the best from their athletes from the jump. Even though there are some new faces to the team, that doesn’t alter the expectations.

“I think the execution needs to go up, but every coach thinks that on day three of the season,” Carbin said.

“We have high standards and we are not going to alter those standards just because we have a lot of newcomers. It’s just a matter of them taking the challenge to rise up and us doing a good job of coaching so that those standards are set high enough that we can be successful down the road.”

Senior Lauren Murphy has seen what that success down the road looks like and wants to get the team back to where it was at the end of 2017.

“I think we are going to be good this year,” Murphy said. “We have already had a lot of expectations set for us this preseason, and each day we are getting better and better to get closer to those expectations. I honestly believe that at the end of the season we are going to be where we were my sophomore season when we won and went to the NCAA tournament.”

In 2018, Murphy made second team All-MIAA and recorded her 2,000th career assist. Now she and the other veterans will show the newcomers last year was not the norm and set the tone for the 2019 season.

“I think we’ve been doing a good job a letting the newcomers get a feel for what our team dynamic is, what we expect out of each other and what the coaches expect from us,” Murphy said. “I think they’ll jump on the train pretty quickly.”

Western doesn’t have its first game until Sept. 5, but there already have been glimpses of what is to come. Carbin just wants to turn those flashes into consistency.

“There have been moments — moments of really good things from some of our newcomers,” Carbin said. “If we can turn those moments into rallies, those rallies into games and matches, then we will be in good shape.”

Chris Tenpenny can be reached

at chris.tenpenny@newspressnow.com.