Almost a month into the new academic year, the Mills College volleyball team has started its season head-on with new leadership.
The team is proud to welcome new head coach Jack Cowden and assistant coach, Ashia Joseph to its squad. Prior to coaching, Joseph played volleyball as a starting setter for CSU East Bay. Cowden brings over 25 years of coaching experience to Mills, 15 of those years centered around coaching for women’s volleyball teams. Cowden and Joseph plan to combine their coaching methods in order to elevate the team’s overall performance.
“It is a very positive environment here at Mills,” Cowden said. “The support I have had as a new coach has been very rewarding, and it feels good to come to work everyday.”
So far, Cowden has been rapidly molding the skills of his fairly new team. He wants to focus on the repetition of fundamental skills and executing the basic skills successfully during practice and competition. Cowden hopes his team will reduce their hitting errors and keep the ball in play on serve.
Members of the volleyball team favor Cowden’s coaching methods and value his coaching experience. Senior Jamie Ziolkowski’s season goal is to move faster on the court and to get more in sync with her teammates. Although she has experience playing volleyball, Ziolkowski believes she is improving on court due to the leadership of new coaching staff.
“Our coaches have a positive attitude,” Ziolkowski said. “I think we are really improving with every game.”
Senior Emma Rigby wants to improve her skill set and use it to better the team and to create a more cohesive environment. According to Rigby, Joseph provides accurate feedback on what each player can improve on and Cowden’s training method is efficient.
“Cowden is skill oriented and gives a lot of feedback on what we could be doing better,” Emma Rigby said.
Sophomore Nicole Aniguid sees potential for growth in every area of the team. She believes that asserting teamwork in and outside the court is crucial for overall team success.
“Both coaches are very patient and are doing a great job coaching us,” Aniguid said. “We are improving with defensive and offensive position skills and how to hit.”
The team is building up for a busy competition season and has specific goals in mind, like growing their technical skill set and bringing high energy into every practice and match.
There are 11 more matches coming up this season, and the Cyclones are set to improve in all aspects of their game alongside the new coaching staff.