Halfway mark of preseason and all is well with Bulldogs in volleyball

Mississippi State head volleyball coach Julie Darty and Gabby Zgunda listen to a reporter's question on Tuesday.

Staff Writer

Julie Darty loves the progress of her volleyball team at Mississippi State at the halfway mark of preseason preparation.

At media day on Tuesday, Darty said the energy level has been the most impressive things she has witnessed out of the Bulldogs.

"In my mind, the first practice after a day off is terrible," Darty said. "We had our first day off a few days ago, and that next practice was through the roof. I don't have to be excited for every play because they are excited for each other. We just get to coach now."

MSU is at practice 10 and there are only 20 total workouts before the season opener. The Bulldogs host Mississippi Valley State on August 24.

It doesn't matter to Darty what has happened in previous seasons at MSU. She has set a high standard and has not been shy in sharing it.

"We made sure they understood what the standards were," Darty said. "They're policing each other and holding each other to those standards. They are doing their job, pulling their weight and we're not having to do everything for them, which makes our job easier."

Gabby Zgunda said the Bulldogs are not going to use "youth" as an excuse and just because there is a new coach in place doesn't mean they won't be a competitive squad.

"I think trust is a big thing and consistency," Zgunda said. "If we together work as a team, we are consistent, and we trust each other. That's what we are working toward."

There will be two upcoming opportunities for fans to get involved with MSU volleyball.

The first will be the debut of Volleyball 101 on Thursday. That event from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. is free to the public and will educate those in attendance on the sport.

On Sunday, the annual Maroon-White scrimmage will take place. First serve is set for 4 p.m. at Newell-Grissom Building and is also open to the public.