“Play with a purpose.” These words from new head coach Danielle Lopez are words that stick in the mind of the Bear’s second year outside hitter Anna Niehaus. Living in the middle of a pandemic is a challenge for all students, including student-athletes. With the potential for any game of the year to be the last, the DMACC Bears volleyball team is taking each match one at a time and living in the moment.
During an interview with Niehaus, she said that the team is very passionate about the newborn season.
“Everyone strives to win, and I simply think we need to find that groove with one another. I think this team has a lot of potential,” she said. Niehaus said she believes that this team has all the likes to be more successful than last year’s squad. With many athletes returning for their second year, this team has high goals and aspirations for the fall season.
With the long term goal set on making it to the national tournament, Niehaus stressed that focusing on each game as it’s own is very important to the Bears. She said she believes that developing team chemistry is a major goal throughout the year.
“The team goal is to build our team chemistry to be 100% confident in one another and trust in one another.” She also said that part of her focus is on her own personal improvement as a player and teammate.
The Bears are currently 5-2 in the 2021 season, with a 1-0 conference record. Their next match is in Fort Dodge against Iowa Central Community College on September 8, a game Niehaus says she’s looking forward two most.
“Last year we got swept in three (sets), and we played them again and swept them in three. It’s an exciting match.”
During the summer off-season, the team prepared with strength and conditioning, as well as two-a-day practices starting in August. The team finished last year’s season with an overall 17-6 record, ranked 7th in the national rankings. The top 10 ranking was their best since the 2015 season where they finished 5th. With multiple award winning athletes returning, the Bears are poised to make a run deep into the postseason this year, with their sights set on a national title.
Photo courtesy of DMACC Athletic Department.