Georgia ‘s volleyball team endured more downs than ups last season.
But it reports for its first preseason camp today with a new coach and a fresh attitude.
“There’s definitely a buzz around the gym now,” senior libero Carla Tietz said. “It’s exciting. We had the spring season to kind of get used to things. But this is even more fun with the new coach and the new girls. The energy is really different. There’s an actual excitement around here.”
Lizzy Stemke replaced Joel McCartney, who was dismissed in midseason last year. Stemke had spent the previous four seasons as an assistant at Nebraska before joining the Bulldogs in January.
“This is what we’ve been preparing for since we got here,” Stemke said. “This is the exciting part, now that it’s finally here. Everybody’s itching to finally get in the gym and roll those balls out and get going. This is fun.”
Georgia will have about three weeks of preseason workouts leading into the beginning of the season. The Bulldogs’ first match is on Aug. 26 at the Ramsey Center against Liberty in the Hotel Indigo Bulldog Invitational. Georgia will play Florida A&M and Stemke’s old Big 12 rival Kansas in the second day of the tournament on Aug. 27.
Georgia ‘s Southeastern Conference opener is on Sept. 16 at Tennessee .
“It’s a quick turnaround, so you have to get to the point quickly in practice,” Stemke said. “We spent a lot of time in the spring on individual fundamentals, so now is the time to put those fundamentals together and get ready for the actual season.”
Georgia went 15-17 overall last season and 6-14 in Southeastern Conference play to finish eighth in the league.
Although Georgia has a first-year head coach, it brings back considerable experience with six returning starters. Senior setter Kathleen Gates, senior middle blocker Ann Dylla and Tietz are three-year starters.
“We feel like we’re fresh and we’re ready to go,” Gates said. “It’s fun to be able to get into the gym and get things started. I know coach is ready to go and we’re ready to go.”