'Hoos Hope to Build on Successful Opening Weekend

As Dennis Hohenshelt's team practiced behind him, the Virginia volleyball coach offered a frank assessment of where the Cavaliers stood after their opening weekend.

"We're going to have to be a lot better than we were last weekend," he said. "That much I know for sure."

UVa opens its home schedule Friday night with the start of the two-day Cavalier Classic. The field includes Navy, plus a pair of NCAA Tournament teams from last year, LIU Brooklyn and Alabama.

The Wahoos are coming off a 3-0 performance at last weekend's Marshall Thunder Invitational, beating Illinois-Chicago 3-1 on Friday, then Eastern Michigan 3-1 and Marshall 3-0 on Saturday.

That performance marked the first time UVa opened a season with three wins on the road since 2010. But it also revealed some issues the Cavaliers have been focusing on in practice this week.

"I think the biggest thing that they understand is, we have to clean up our game a little bit," Hohenshelt said. "We gave ourselves chances to win these games by 10, 11, 12 points. And we're sort of on the roller coaster of playing right now, where we're really good for about six points, and not so good for about four points. So we have to clean up those not-so-good points."

But the third-year coach also admits "I'll take three wins any weekend." UVa only won nine matches in Hohenshelt's first year in Charlottesville, but improved to 18-14 last year -- snapping a string of four straight losing seasons.

And Hohenshelt says the most positive development has been what he hasn't seen since last weekend.

"I don't think we're an overconfident group," he explained. "We understand, this group understands where they're at. It's not like, we're not celebrating, we're not tweeting out that we won three games. The kids understand that hey, we won three matches, but it wasn't great volleyball."

"I think everyone is pretty confident, which is a great place to be," agreed senior outside hitter Tori Jankowski. "But I think everyone still knows that we need to work hard at it. It's not something that's going to happen. That we need to earn it."

"We are extremely motivated to keep getting better," said senior setter Lauren Fuller. "And the atmosphere around the gym, and the players and the coaches. Just the entire team right now. I think it's a great time to be of the UVa volleyball program right now, because we're definitely on the come-up, and it's so exciting. It's a really, really exciting time right now."


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