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Coach Watson sets tone for volleyball's season


August 12, 2010

Feelings & expectations of this seasons entering recruiting class:
I feel our 2010 class has been with our program for a long time. While they begin as Sun Devils this semester, the process of getting them to Tempe began a long time ago. So it's been fun getting to know them, while appreciating the commitment they have made to both ASU and our volleyball program. They each bring a passion for volleyball. They work hard and enjoy competition. Which will be key as we continue to elevate the environment in our gym and raise the expectations of our program.

Who you expect the leaders of this team to be and why they're the best to lead the team to success:
In an effort to provide better leadership for the 2010 season, we created a core leadership group. This group meets weekly to discuss key leadership traits of different leaders of note. It had a positive influence on our team this past spring. The composition of this group may change, but our leadership core will play a big part this season. Yet it is clear, that those who have been with us the longest, Sarah Reaves and Sarah Johnson, will have the most influence on the direction of our program. They each understand the expectations and have set challenging personal and team goals.

Offensively, what are you looking to change and bring to this year's team?
We spent a considerable amount of time looking at our program in comparison to each of the schools in the Pac-10. We do this every year, but this year we dug a little deeper into our study of the Pac-10. We know know some specific offensive trends developing in the Pac-10 and where we need to significantly upgrade. We need to find ways to increase our offensive productivity. This will be a major focus for us this entire season.

Defensively, the Sun Devils had one of the best blocking teams last season. Building on that, what else do you see as a focus to make the D even more dominant?
It's not enough for us to just block. We need to be able to turn opportunities into points. While we look to increase our offensive productivity, we also need to be a much improved team in transition. While we need to create more transition opportunities, we also need to convert them into points. While a sound blocking system helps, it's going to require a lot more discipline when the ball gets by our block.

What are the expectations throughout the season from opening tournaments into the start of Pac-10 play?
I'd like to see us continue to improve. We have a challenging season - there will be highs and lows. That's no surprise. But we'll be challenging our team to always work to improve our mean level of performance. We have a lot to do to get our mean to a level to challenge for an NCAA Tournament bid. It's not going to be easy.

Thoughts on the 2010 schedule:
We very much like our schedule. Our non-conference schedule provides us with a challenging mix of teams. I think we are fortunate to play three home tournaments. There's something special about playing in Wells Fargo Arena. Opening on the road at Dayton will be tough. What I think is important about our early schedule is that we are going to have to be ready to play. We need to prepare for each of our opponents. We are going to need to be disciplined and stay of task. If we do that, and I know we can, then it will prepare us as well as we've ever been to enter PAC 10 play.

What sets the 2010 team apart from all the other teams you've coached at ASU?
This is a team that is committed: to each other, to our staff and to our process. They want to improve and want to excel. We have a lot of work ahead of us if we're to achieve all this team is committed to do. But I'm having about as much fun coaching this group as I've had with any group I've coached. They are passionate and competitive. More than ever, I'm eager to watch them compete. I'm as excited as anyone to see what is in store for us this season.