By Brian Roe, Sports Writer
To some it is a college major, to others it is simply a class, but to the ACU volleyball team, chemistry is one of the most important factors in their quest for the Lone Star Conference championship.
Chemistry is one of the invisible facets of team sports that plays a major role on the amount of success a team achieves. Team chemistry is especially important on a college team.
“I think women’s sports rely more on team chemistry than men’s,” said head coach Brek Horn. “If team chemistry is right, then it’s a lot easier to develop into a better team.”
Horn said she considers her team’s chemistry when she recruits prospective players. She goes as far as bringing in the recruit and has her practice with the team just to get a feel for the player’s personality.
Horn said most NCAA coaches search only for talent and look for that one-part player. Horn, however, looks for a three-part player.
“When I recruit, I’m looking for a girl who not only cares about volleyball but cares about being a Christian and about being a strong student academically,” Horn said. “In that way I am looking for three-part players.”
For team chemistry to be fully realized, leaders must emerge from the team. Last year’s leader on and off the court was outside hitter Haylee Hartline. Hartline completed her fourth and final season with the Wildcats last fall. The team is looking for new leaders to emerge and fill that role.
Horn began the process last week when she named senior libero Kellen Morrow and junior middle blocker Amanda Slate team captains. Morrow and middle blocker Sophia Kindred are the only two seniors on this year’s team.
“Kellen is a senior now, and she wants her senior year to be the best,” Horn said. “She is more of a vocal leader. She talks a lot on the court and is always pushing everyone to work hard. Amanda leads by example. She is a workhorse and always tries to push her teammates to the limit.”