Kody Kahle/NKU Athletics
After going 3-2 in the first five games of the season, Head Coach Liz Hart and sophomore Haley Libs gave themselves a ‘B’ grade for the way the team performed.
“We’re okay. We’ve had games where we were good in one area and not good in another,” Hart said. “They’ve show the ability to execute every skill and now they just need to put it all together.”
Libs was slightly more critical.
“I’d say a B-minus. I feel like there is so much room for improvement,” Libs said. “We are starting to come together and the more we play we will get more comfortable. We are going to take off soon.”
Libs has been one of the most consistent players this year for the Norse, leading the team in kills (51) and kills per set (3.19), and continuing her exceptional play from her freshman campaign.
“Haley has all the shots,” Hart said. “Even if she says she doesn’t. It’s just a matter of her making good decisions.”
After being named Horizon League Freshman of the Year last year, Libs noted teams are playing her differently this year and it’s been a new challenge.
“It’s been harder. They target me more in serve receive and try and set up blocks more,” Libs said. “I’m locating and finding hole better and it’s making me better as well as the other outside hitters. In order to get better I need to learn how to get around blocks setting up against me.”
Libs isn’t the only one playing well up front, however. Keely Creamer is a close second for the team in kills (50) and kills per set (3.13) while Tristen Simpson has made the most of her opportunity so far in her senior year, recording 37 kills.
“She has worked really hard on changing her shots up and moving the ball around,” Hart said. “I’m excited for her to show off all her hard work in the spring. I’m happy with her presence on the court.. She has a level of calmness and maturity on the court.”
Lauren Hurley has also been a major contributor for the Norse, recording 61 digs in five games and has been great in the serve receive as well.
“She passes a lot of balls perfectly,” Hart said, “She is very calm and reminds everyone to relax when they get frazzled.”
The performance of players around Libs has taken a little bit of pressure off of the sophomore and has helped her relax.
“The most relieving thing ever is to know when you are struggling that your teammates can pick you up,” Libs said.
The Norse will travel to Morehead State this weekend for a trio of games against Ball State, Appalachian State, and MSU. The Norse have struggled against taller teams thus far, and MSU is another one of those teams.
“We need to try and get these teams out of system,” Hart said. “When we can’t pass we struggle. We aren’t going to get as many blocks but we hope to get as many positive touches as possible.”
Hart wants her players to make a statement his weekend and for her players to step up and execute fully.
“We are going to have a different lineup this weekend,” Hart said. “We have different people playing and I want our players to show why they should be on the court.”