Winona State volleyball opens NSIC play Thursday night at home. The Warriors are undefeated at 9-0 and ranked 9th in the nation in this week's AVCA poll. Both marks are the best in program history.
"Ninth is a good way to get in the door. It is a good way to get on the map," said junior outside hitter Taylor Goar. "But it is not really a big thing with the team. We just get in the gym and work hard every day."
Goar, an all-Northern Sun first-team selection as sophomore despite a nagging shoulder injury, already owns 10-plus kills in six separate matches this season.
She is the leader of an impressive group of juniors that walks into one of the toughest conference schedules, of any sport, in the country.
"It is frustrating to know that every game we have to step up our game. No matter how good we play, nothing is good enough," said junior middle blocker Lauren Kudronowicz.
"We know we have to show up every night," adds Goar. "It makes every night meaningful. Doesn't matter if it is the 16th team or fourth-ranked team -- you better bring your A game."
Head coach Joe Getzin's goal for the regular season: Stay healthy. If that's the case, a second straight 20-win season is a good bet.
And after falling in the NSIC title game and narrowly missing out on the school's first NCAA tournament bid in 2015, maybe it's time.
"Just the experience of being there. At that level and knowing that we are good enough to play at that level," said Kudronowicz.
"That was our taste of it, which gives me a lot of confidence to take the next step and make the tournament."