Experience was the biggest contribution to the women’s volleyball team in regards to a 17-win season which is now a school record in the NCAA era for Pacific University. The Boxers finished their season 17-7 overall and 10-6 in conference play for the 2017 season.
Not only was it their experience, but the consistency throughout the season.
“Experience and some great consistent performances from more than just one player,” Yoshimura said. “I think that is what was most important with the team.”
Coach Yoshimura could not be more right, as many players, such as junior Ellie Parker, who was given honorable mention All-Conference along with being awarded CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team. Parker recorded 964 assists which was good for fourth best in school history, along with her 11.08 assists per set which ranks second best in school history.
According to Yoshimura, Parker ranked four in the country with assists per set with over 430 schools. Junior Anna Vanderweyst was awarded the conference’s Libero of the Year and first team all-conference for her school record of 556 digs breaking the old record of 517. Her dig per set was 6..45 which broke the 5.33 school record. She was durable for the Boxers, only missing two sets of the 88 played on the season.
Sophomore Karlee Duncan led the team in kills with 300 and received second team all-conference honors. Her 3.61 kills per set ranked sixth best in school history.
“All these players made a huge impact with their consistent play,” Yoshimura stated. “It is nice when you do not have to hope the star player of the team has to have a great match, where it takes pressure off of them and they can actually have a great match with not having the weight on their shoulders.”
As far as the mentality of the team throughout the season, Yoshimura believes they do not make a conscious effort, but over the past few seasons, the culture has grown and the expectations are getting higher. He wants to keep the standard of being more accountable and more dedicated.
“We have set a great standard over the last couple of years,” Yoshimura said. “I think next year we are putting the pressure on ourselves and I think next year could be one of our better years.”
Over 20 years coaching collegiality, Yoshimura says this was one of the most fun and exciting seasons he has had as a head coach. If not, he says it is definitely top two or three. It keeps the players enjoying themselves more, including the coaches.
But, already looking toward next season, the team has high expectations with many returning players. But, there are a few positions to still develop and/or replace according to Yoshimura.
“We have a great JV squad returning and hopefully a couple can step up and make the varsity program,” Yoshimura said. “We got some great returners coming back to fill the roles of some of our graduating seniors and have the component of recruiting which is what happens every year and what we are focusing on during the off-season.”