3/31/2021 0 Comments
By: Will Farlow
When Illinois State University brought in Leah Johnson to be the head coach back in 2017 they did so knowing one thing. When a team upgrades their coach to lead a talented collegiate program, you are working toward long-term success. Illinois State finished the 2021 regular season last week by being crowned the MVC regular season champion. Coach Johnson has delivered on that goal as the Illinois State Redbird volleyball team heads toward the MVC Championship this weekend on their home court.
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I admire the Redbirds play team first, good sportsmanship volleyball every time they step on the court. Amid a Covid style season in the spring , this team of young women has been up to any challenge. Here are my takes on how this team led by Coach Johnson will fare in the upcoming MVC Championship on Doug Collins Court this weekend.
Successful collegiate teams are built by a core of veteran leadership factoring in players of different levels that make a team. Redbird veteran leaders like seniors Stef Jankiewicz, Kaylee Martin, and Sydney Holt each help this young Redbird team strive for success in each set of a match. I think this team has the necessary leadership to help their chances in the upcoming tournament on Doug Collins Court.
Heading into the championship tournament this weekend the Redbirds sport a conference-leading record of 11-5. The Redbirds have standouts in their seniors along with sophomore Sarah Kushner, and freshman Nicole Lund. The Redbirds' first opponent in Redbird Arena for the conference championship is a visiting Indiana State team lower in the conference standings at 7-11. The Redbirds in recent meetings this year with the Sycamores played close scoring sets which means Illinois State will need to make each point count this weekend.
Coach Johnson and the Redbird volleyball team have shown in recent seasons the ability to conquer any opposing team regardless of record or standing. The best thing about sports is expecting the unexpected, and you can expect this Redbird team to play well against Indiana State. I saw this Coach Johnson led Redbird team in that student section at games playing well for Redbird nation. Through this Covid pandemic, sports fans can be grateful in my opinion for good competitive teams to watch like the ISU Redbird volleyball team. Good luck to Coach Johnson and the Illinois State Redbird Volleyball team this weekend, and I hope they continue their success in a special season.