The Lady Wave volleyball team begins its season this week against Wooster before jumping into league play next week. Patty Daum returns and spoke with the Lahontan Valley News about her expectations and outlook on another season.
LVN: The 2016 team was one of the best you coached. Last year’s team went through a rebuilding season and missed the playoffs but showed potential. What did they learn going into this year?
DAUM: Last year, as a team, there was a struggle at times. They learned a lot from it. A lot of what they learned wasn’t related to volleyball but it was related to life: adversity, working really hard, getting ready and not having it go the way you wanted it to.
LVN: What was your first impression of this year’s team?
DAUM: I love this year’s team. This team is very similar to 2009 and 2010. The five seniors I have on this team I have coached since they were in eighth grade and in club. They know me and what I expect. There’s that advantage to that. We have five juniors and two sophomores. These five seniors welcomed everyone with opened arms. The other seven kids absorbed into team and program. Everyone on this team fits each other like a glove. They’re unselfish. You know what’s the greatest thing? Not only are they unselfish but they are just hard working and enthusiastic kids.
LVN: You got a good look at the team last weekend with scrimmages against Wooster and Lowry. What did you see?
DAUM: Definitely more positives than negative. I told them there are things that end up destroying a team and this year came. You can be fierce or forgotten. Forgotten meaning shelved like other teams. They get it and they’re hitting the floor. Only twice did the ball hit floor uncontested and that was it.
LVN: What does Fallon need to do to get back into the playoffs?
DAUM: Just straight-up defense and finishing. Last year, I don’t know how many times we played five sets and going into the fifth set with an 11-8 lead and we couldn’t finish and we lost. We have to finish. We have to be able to take that winning set and finish, and playing to win instead of playing not to lose. This year, my kids are taking care of everybody else but themselves. It’s awesome. It’s hard to explain. These kids will make sure that they do their job to take care of their teammate. I haven’t had an entire team do that. I’ve had in the years past but not an entire team.
LVN: How special is this senior class?
DAUM: These five kids been playing together forever. Even though they’re really close and playing together, they just opened up to the new ones. Everybody fits. It’s a puzzle coming together early. It’s really funny. There’s no pouting. They take that and welcome the new person in taking her position. It’s just fun to see. They’re just a fun team to watch and a fun team to coach.
LVN: Which teams in this region do you see standing out this season?
DAUM: Unlike any other sport, I don’t think you can predict that. Volleyball is a game of momentum. It can shift in a heartbeat. I’ve seen teams loaded with club players walk out of the gym with a loss. Volleyball is anyone’s given sport. You just never know. Everyone thinks that teams with club players are going to drive the team, drive the win loss column. I can tell you for a fact that this team is going to ruin that and surprise a lot of people.
LVN: How will Fallon stack up against the league?
DAUM: These kids are going out not just to compete but we’re going out to play the best we can until that final whistle blows. People think losing is a bad thing but losing is a great way to learn from your mistakes. You learn. That’s what we do. We just keep getting better and taking care of each other. My team is made up of kids under 5-foot-7. Obviously, it’s going to be about being relentless on defense. It’s just about the defense. Offense working on placing shots.
LVN: Who are your leaders this year and what expectations do you have for them?
DAUM: My captains – Journey Martin and Shelbi Schultz – are my ying and yang. Jjourney has a really good sense of humor. Volleyball is her passion and she directs the team. Journey can make full conversations on the court because she’s communicating that much. Then I have the yang, Shelbi. Shelbi is the one who demands. She demands like Journey but leads in a different way. She’s intense. You know that’s Shelbi on the court. The kids are listening to them. When I add my other three seniors to the fold, it’s just the perfect storm.
LVN: Both the girls basketball and softball teams won state titles last year. Is there any pressure for volleyball to join them with a state title?
DAUM: I don’t feel any pressure. It’s a way different sport. They’re two entirely different sports. What winter sports do and spring sports do, it’s awesome. You just can’t compare. Every year, though, that’s always the ultimate goal (winning state). If there’s a kid who doesn’t think that way, I question why they’re on the team. Kids are on the team for that competitive purpose. You always have a goal to make final chapter of the season. It’s our ultimate goal to wreak havoc in our region.
LVN: North Valleys joins the 3A this year after spending its entire existence in the 4A. What does it mean to have the Panthers in the league?
DAUM: I’m excited for North Valleys and for the kids to be able to start believing in themselves in the program. When we have these kids in the region that just don’t have the numbers to turn out or don’t have what other teams have within a program, it’s disheartening. I’m excited for them to come to league to compete in and I welcome them. You want the kids to believe in themselves. They start believing in their environment, their job, work, family and marriage. Those kids will start believing in themselves and start looking at competing. They can then actually compete. I’m excited for those kids to come down.