|The Journey is the Destination for Pandas
|9/19/2012 - by Andy Foltz|
The backs of their T-shirts read "Success Does Not Rest."
Neither do the members of the Notre Dame Academy volleyball team.
The team just returned from the Durango Classic in Las Vegas having already traveled to play in the Louisville Invitational earlier this year. Next week, the Pandas will be in Chicago for the Asics Challenge.
"It was a long, long weekend", said head coach Andrea Lanham. But the travel is good for her team in the long run, she believes. You're playing the toughest competition. There are plenty of good teams around here, but in Las Vegas three of the top four nationally ranked teams were there; it's nice to see teams you're not used to seeing. It's a great learning experience.
Lanham and her team are all about the learning experience. When you talk about the tournaments, past or upcoming, the coach says, "The scores aren't what's important, learning is what's important right now." Senior captain Katie Averdick echoed her coach, saying, "With each match you can see our improvement."
Notre Dame is currently ranked #4 in the Kentucky Volleyball Coaches Association poll, despite defeating Louisville Mercy and Louisville Sacred Heart, who are ranked second and third in the poll. Notre Dame is 20-4, with their only in-state loss coming at the hands of #1-ranked Louisville Assumption. During a 13-0 start to the season, the Pandas also defeated Cincinnati powerhouses Ursuline Academy and St. Ursula.
"The poll isn't the main thing", coach Lanham said. "You don't play everyone, and not everyone participates. It's nice that we moved up from 8th. We know what we've done and we know what we want to do."
One of the things the team wants to do is bet Assumption when they have a rematch on October 3. That's their senior night, "It seems like we always play them on their senior night, which makes it even more tough", Lanham said. "But the girls want to play them again."
On their own senior night Tuesday, the Pandas defeated Dixie 25-3, 25-3. The three seniors, Averdick, Taylor Angel, and Sydney Schuler all played well.
"Sydney has been an integral part of the team", said Lanham. "Her personality is great, everyone loves her. Taylor has been aggressive at the net for us, and Katie is one of our captains. The girls really listen her, she's a really good kid."
The travel isn't all work and no play for the Pandas, who enjoyed a Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas and also enjoyed a team dinner at the California Pizza Kitchen in the Mirage. No plans for non-volleyball activities were announced ahead of the Chicago trip, but there is no shortage of good restaurants and shopping in the Second City for the Pandas to enjoy.
But the trip to Louisville is the one the Pandas have circled.
"It's always one of our goals to beat Assumption", said Averdick. "We put in the hard work in practice, hopefully it pays off."