NCAA Womens Volleyball

UVA Athletics | Fall Teams Prioritize Offseason Development Over Results

UVA Athletics | Fall Teams Prioritize Offseason Development Over Results

WOMEN’S SOCCER: The spring is a crucial time for his program, head coach Steve Swanson said.

“There’s a lot of emphasis on individual development in the spring,” he said, “and there’s a lot of emphasis on collective understanding of our principles and the fundamental aspects of the game we try to drill in throughout the spring.”

Overall, his team’s progress this season “was exceptional,” Swanson said. “The reality was, though, that we didn’t have our whole team here.”

Injuries ravaged the Hoos in 2023, when they missed the NCAA tournament for the first time in Swanson’s 24 seasons leading the program, and several of those players were still rehabbing this spring.

“So that was hard,” Swanson said. “You’ve got this window of opportunity in the spring where you can experiment with things and you can develop, you can look at some different ways of playing, and we just didn’t have all our players available. And so from that standpoint, obviously that was one of our challenges. But overall I think the whole coaching staff was pleased with how far the players developed.”

Steve Swanson

The Cavaliers played five spring games, against Penn State, West Virginia, Duke, Liberty and the National Women’s Soccer League’s Washington Spirit.

“We played a very difficult schedule, and that was tough, especially with the amount of players that we had,” Swanson said. “We didn’t have a full squad almost every game.”

Even so, Swanson said, “I’m always a glass-full kind of guy, and I think the progress that the players that were consistently with us this spring made was tremendous, and they worked very hard. I think we’re in a really good place heading into the summer months with the emphasis on their individual development, their individual fitness, getting ready for the preseason.

“And the good news is, there were so many opportunities. All of our players that were available this spring got great minutes in the games. And so there was a lot of game experience and a lot of things that we can point to and go, ‘Here are things for you to work on in order for you to keep getting better, for us to keep getting better.’ ”

A talented group of players returned from last season, including Lia Godfrey, Maggie Cagle, Yuna McCormack, Jill Flammia, Samar Guidry and Laney Rouse, and the Hoos are likely to be back on solid footing this fall. Being short-handed hurt the Cavaliers this spring when they faced outside…

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