Seven weeks into volleyball season and Seton Hall University is doing well. The Pirates are 12-4 overall and 3-1 in Big East Conference play. There are several new players on the roster and a new head coach, Shannon Thompson. She said the intense competition in the Big East coupled with Seton Hall’s high academic standards intrigued her to take on the challenge of building the program.
“We’re here for volleyball, but at the end of the day, we’re here to make them better people in all aspects of their lives,” said Thompson. “I really appreciate a school that has that same philosophy.”
Thompson recruited several of the new players on the roster, and right from starting the job last spring, she showed the team’s returning players that she cared about their overall success. “I’m really big on feedback,” she said. “I think they appreciate that.”
Last weekend, after the team’s loss to Georgetown, Thompson met with the team captains to see what more the coaching staff could do for them. The next day, Seton Hall prevailed over Villanova. On Monday, outside hitter Jenna Walsh was named Big East Women’s Volleyball Offensive Player of the Week, the first Pirate to receive this honor since 2016.
“We talk about having fun, which I know is so cliché, but we talk about enjoying it,” Thompson said of the team’s success. “That’s a main aspect of practices and games. We have a job to do, but at the same regard if we take it so seriously and we’re miserable, we’re not going to play well. Some of our losses this year, we were so serious and tense, that’s probably the reason we didn’t play well. The girls honestly enjoy being around each other. That plays a role in why we do so well.”
Two players to look out for are junior outside hitter Perri Lucas and junior middle blocker Laila Wallace. “We worked a lot on Perri being a little bit more diverse in the way she hits and how she hits. She’s really developed and is hitting so well right now. She’s a very consistent player for us and one that leads by example,” said Thompson. “Laila has done a very consistent job. She is someone that can get points when we need it, and find ways to score. She has an energy about her.”
The Pirates are at home this weekend, taking on DePaul on Friday night and Marquette on Saturday afternoon.