By Jacob Schneider
After a slow start led to an early-season coaching change, the Queens College women’s volleyball team is looking to rebound and finish the season on a high note.
The Knights have been led by their libero, senior captain Reggie Anthony, who has been a consistent force for the team since she stepped on campus her freshman year.
Anthony leads the team with 20 service aces and 180 digs. She is also second on the team in assists and has the second fewest errors.
“Nothing has impressed me this season that hasn’t impressed me in the past with how she’s played,” head coach Merlin Thompson said.
Anthony appeared in 25 matches her freshman year, a career-low 13 contests her sophomore year and didn’t miss a match last season. She has sat for just two sets this season.
Anthony started her career as an outside hitter, getting time there her first two seasons, but made the switch to libero full-time for her junior season. She has excelled ever since.
“My digging has pretty much been consistent every game,” Anthony said. “My passing has been shaky at times. It’s something I have to work on.”
Thompson took over as interim head coach following the removal of Jason Octave after a disappointing 2-4 start. Thompson — a former student-athlete at Queens College who lettered in soccer, volleyball and track and field — served as an administrator at the college for the last 30 years.
Thompson took over for the Knights prior to the match against NYIT Sept. 19. The team sports a 2-6 record since he has taken over.
“There have been mental lapses that have cost us matches,” Thompson said, noting that since taking over, it’s been predominately a conference schedule which boasts tougher competition than the non-conference slate.
The Knights have a 1-4 conference record and a 3-6 non-conference record.
Moving forward, Thompson said he wants his players to improve their technique.
“I come from a technical background, so I’m trying to improve the technical deficiencies I’ve seen,” Thompson said.
It’s been a tough stretch for the Knights, having played five matches in the first full week of October. The team started off the rough week with a victory over Mercy Oct. 3, but dropped the next two matches against Bridgeport and Southern New Hampshire Oct. 4 and Oct. 6, respectively. In a tri-match last Saturday, the Knights won their first match against Merrimack, but lost the late match to Saint Anselm.
So while the team has seen some nice victories, the Knights need to be more consistent as the season progresses.
“We’ve had great moments,” Anthony said. “Then we’ve had moments where we just kind of shut down as a team, so that’s something we have to work on. We have to be able to pick ourselves up after the mistakes.”
Despite the losing record, Anthony is pleased with the way the Knights have competed thus far this season. But she believes there is still room for improvement.
“I just want to improve with every game we play,” Anthony said.
Thompson has seen the team stay competitive since taking over the head coaching job and believes the squad can see more success if it can clean up some mistakes.
“I want to iron out the mental mistakes they’re making so they can win more matches,” Thompson said. “We’re playing really well, and when we pass the ball we’re almost unstoppable.”