The Class of 2017 women’s volleyball players welcome their fourth couch in four years. Junior Mairin Guilfoyle is among them.
“I was recruited by Bob, and then he was replaced by Amy, and then Emily, and now Coach Lewis,” Guilfoyle said.
On April 4, Prentice Lewis accepted her new position as the 16th head coach of the UD women’s volleyball team. Lewis joins UD athletics after being head coach at Division I Texas Christian University (TCU). There she had an overall winning record of 245-174, making her the winningest coach in TCU volleyball history.
However, rising seniors such as Guilfoyle are not fazed by another coaching change.
“We’re going to have five strong upperclassmen this next year, we’ll be able to excel off of the past years,” Guilfoyle said.
Guilfoyle has confidence in the experienced younger players.
“Winning conference is definitely still our goal, if that’s not your goal then what’s the point?” Guilfoyle said. “We were on our way there last year and we beat Trinity and we were looking pretty good. All of the underclassmen who were here will all have another year under their belt.”
One concern with so many staff changes is the program’s ability to recruit. Junior Anna Fazio is confident that with Lewis’ reputation the program’s future is in good hands.
“She’s brand-new, but she’s definitely concerned about recruiting and is already showing that she’s fully committed. With her experience, things, especially recruiting, will really turn around, and she should be able to bring in numbers with new recruits,” Fazio said.
Along with the benefit of Lewis’ reputation, Fazio believes that Lewis’ experience will help the team for the coming year. Fazio acknowledges the difficulty in coming to a new program but already sees Lewis taking steps to excel in her new task.
“She won’t be an easy coach, and she will have high expectations and will make a difference,” Fazio said. “She’s comfortable with us and has already invited us to her office multiple times and has made a huge attempt to get involved with the program.”
Both Guilfoyle and Fazio are very confident in the future of the team.
“I think we’re going to be all right, in fact I know we’re going to be more than all right, we’re going to play damn good,” Fazio said.
Looking forward to more than just the next year, Fazio believes Lewis will continue the volleyball team’s previous success and increase the program’s excellence.
“She’s not just a one year difference or a team of twelve girls difference but a difference for the whole program over the next couple years,” Fazio said.
Lewis seems to be quickly addressing a previously recurring problem from years past, namely the inability of new coaches to connect with their new players.
“She understands where we’re coming from and knows that we’re students first and athletes second,” Fazio said. “She’s showing us that she really cares and understands our position … I think she can really help the whole program excel.”
With such confidence in a bright future, students should keep an eye out for the volleyball team in the years to come.