SPRINGFIELD, Mo–The Missouri State volleyball team is eight days away from opening its season in the Mary Jo Wynn Invitational.
A lot has changed for this team in the last two weeks.
In our Bear Nation report, Missouri State is moving past the adversity and embracing change.
Two weeks ago, Manolo Concepcion’s world changed.
After more than two decades, Melissa Stokes resigned as the Missouri State volleyball coach.
The reigns were passed to the Puerto Rican native who had joined the staff four months earlier.
“It was a little bit of a surprise. It is what it is right now. And that’s how we’re taking it,” said Concepcion.
Concepcion was handed a team that was 17-15 last season and has six newcomers.
Add to that a returning roster shaken from NCAA violations and Stokes’ departure.
“We turned to each other. And we kind of had a conversation and said the team is still the team. We can do two things. We can either fall apart. Or we can come together and come out stronger. We just made the decision to ban together,” said Missouri State senior Gerri Idos.
“It was pretty shocking. But we looked to each other, our teammates and we decided that what we wanted to come from this was to have the same expectations as a team,” said Missouri State sophomore Amelia Flynn.
And those expectations are high.
The Bears were picked to finish third in the league, and Flynn is a first team preseason All-Valley player.
Concepcion:”We’re lucky to have a group of wonderful women on this team. They’ve been the core and the center of this process in terms of being consistent throughout training and throughout development.”
Another plus is concepcion’s experience.
He’s coached a the professional level, and at Evansville for six seasons.
He knows the Valley.
Concepcion:”It’s great to have familiarity with th conference. And understand what each team’s identity is all about.”
Flynn:”I think it’s good to gain a different perspective on things. As players we can still use what we’ve learned but also use what he’s been teaching us.”