Here is what I know; you'll recall some of it...
by MPG (2022-04-18 11:10:05)
Edited on 2022-04-18 11:13:13

In reply to: MPG & NDdoggie78: Any Insight Is Appreciated...  posted by dillon77

1. ND did well during the '20-21 covid-extended "ACC Only" season finishing near the top of the ACC and winning a first round NCAA match for the first time in years.

2. With all the best players returning, there were high expectations for the 2021 "back to normal" season. Instead, the team stumbled through some inxplicable early losses to mid-majors(including being swept at home by three of them in one weekend) and finished a disappointing 13-15 overall, 10-8 in the ACC. I am not a good analyst of volleyball play, but they looked sluggish to me when I watched them.

3. On December 3, ND announced that Coach Johnson's contract was not renewed. This was a surprise to me, but then I learned that all of the starters were in the transfer portal, so I knew that there must have been internal problems.

4. ND Hired Salima Rockwell as head coach on January 3. This was the basketball equivalent of a team hiring Rebecca Lobo in basketball, if Lobo had many years as a successful assistant for several championship winning teams to go with her prime TV analyst role and name recognition.

5. By the time Coach Rockwell was named, three starters with multiple years of eligibility had already committed to teams back home in Milwaukee, Texas, and Southern California. The two graduating senior starters then decided to take their covid seasons at UNC and MSU. Perhaps they did not want to use their bonus season in a rebuild. The sixth starter, libero Hattie Monson opted to stay with ND. One of the five recruits who signed in November opted out and will play for Pitt who made it to the Final Four last season along with Louisville.

6. Coach Rockwell began winter/spring workouts with seven players, four of whom were setters or liberos. There were two middle blockers: Lauren Tarnoff, who was part of the regular rotation for most of last season, and the rarely used Charity McDowell. The only outside hitter, Paris Thompson, missed last season because of an injury, but was the Florida player of the Year in high school. Check the volleyball twitter site to see what these player development practices in the Pit look like; the team doesn't have enough players to scrimmage!

7. A setter, a libero, and two outside hitters constitute the four remaining signees from November 2021. They were viewed as an excellent recruiting class. To them Coach Rockwell has added two more freshmen: the Canadian middle blocker and the Hoosier outside hitter. The SMU grad transfer middle blocker should be an immediate help.

8. Coach Rockwell will have a full roster for the fall, but most of them have never played a significant minute for ND. She has assembled what seems to be an outstanding staff, so I expect her first season to be a teaching and learning experience for the entire roster. My guess is that she'll teach and recruit well and have a winning record during her second season.