The Washington Husky Beach Dawgs kick off the 2023 season this Saturday, Feb. 25, with new faces and a tough schedule ahead of them. Receiving the 20th spot in the preseason rankings, this team is heading into their opening weekend with excitement and ambition. Second-year head coach Derek Olson is looking forward to seeing this group compete in their season-opening tournament in Florida, hosted by second-ranked Florida State, where UW will see the host Seminoles, Florida International, South Carolina, and Coastal Carolina.
GoHuskies: Lots of newcomers being added to the group this season, what do they bring to the team and how do you see them helping out?
Derek Olson: They bring a lot of diverse skillsets and character to this group both on and off the court. It’s cool to seeing how they mesh with the team; it has been pretty seamless. We’re counting on all of them, that’s what you get with a small roster. All of them are going to be contributors. It’s great to see all the roles that they have stepped into.
GH: There is also a lot of experience on the team, how has this senior class been leading this group?
Derek Olson: I was begging them to come back. I told them they’ve put so much work to get the program to a point where we can really start to make moves and have a complete season. I begged them not to jump of the train too early and to give it one more shot. They’re sacrificing a lot to still be here. They lead this team in every way and they do it in a really unique and authentic way. Every team hopes to have leaders like that but not every team is lucky enough. They’re really eager and excited, I’m expecting good things.
GH: With one of the highest rankings in a while, what is your mindset going into this season?
Derek Olson: At the end of the day, it doesn’t mean anything especially when we haven’t stated the season. I was telling my team that it’s external noise… It’s going to be there, and we should acknowledge it but understand it for what it is. I was hoping we could just quietly go about our business and surprise people. Our whole mindset this season has been to stay in the moment and not look too far ahead, or behind. This is just another opportunity to do that.
GH: This is one of the program’s most ambitious schedules.
Derek Olson: We don’t have many opportunities locally and it’s hard to bring teams out here due to weather. I just knew we had a team that could potentially go to all the way and make…
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