Live thread: MSU soccer and volleyball media day

Beginning at 1 p.m. today, Mississippi State’s volleyball and soccer teams will have their preseason media day led by their coaches. We’ll have live updates throughout the afternoon right here on the blog. Soccer opens their season at home on Friday, while volleyball begins plays next week.

Updates to follow.

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HHUYWCOWEDODZGK.20150113222412Volleyball coach David McFatrich is up first, entering his first season as MSU’s head coach. Energetic guy, ought to be entertaining.

“It’s been a fast-paced seven months,” McFatrich opens. Says the staff has been everywhere from California to Europe recruiting.

“As you guys probably know, we’ve got to change a lot of things around Mississippi State volleyball.”

As part of that change, Fatch says the players had their own practice sessions throughout the summer to help improve. Very different looking roster.

“Our philosophy is embedded into the minds of our players,” he says, “and we are excited about getting started.”

We’re also talking with Evie Grace Singleton, who followed McFatrich from Central Arkansas to MSU because she wanted to continue playing for him. Said his “passion is contagious” and that he fits the aggressive style of play she prefers. Backs up the reports of Fatch being very energetic.

Also here is Emily Howard who transferred in, a player Fatch believes has pro potential. She’s got big goals for the 2015 season: “I want to go to the NCAA Tournament.”

Asked by local celebrity Bart Gregory what the team’s identity is, McFatrich gave a lengthy answer:

“Fast, aggressive and fearless. We don’t care who we play. That’s part of the mindset we’re trying to instill in them. It’s not easy changing culture sometimes. But when you let players know that if you’re going 100 miles per hour and you screw up, I’m OK with that … They need to be playing all-out every play. There’s freedom in that, knowing that if we make a mistake, we’re OK with that.”

And that’s it for volleyball.

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VQVNJVTELJUGGAU.20141018032101Head coach Aaron Gordon and the soccer program up next, joined by senior Shelby Jordan.

Gordon talking now about getting ready for the season. Soccer only gets 16 days of preseason, one of the shortest in athletics.

“My last two years here were about developing a program and changing the conversation,” about Mississippi State soccer, Gordon says.

As far as changing that conversation goes, Gordon says one of the biggest steps to getting where they want to be is becoming relevant on campus. Said much of the summer and the marketing plan is devoted to doing that. He feels like it’s happening.

“It’s a new time here,” he says. “It’s exciting. We’re still young, but we’re getting there … We’re gonna be in a lot more games, we’re gonna compete in a lot more games and that means we’re going to win a lot more games.”

Gordon obviously has a much higher level of confidence. Said it’s something he’s seen in preseason practices and looks forward to that product being on the field. The win over a good Memphis soccer program in the preseason was a good sign.

Talking to Jordan, she sees a bright future. “When I think about it, I get jealous … I think they’re going to do really well when I’m gone.” She added that she sees the young talent coming in and how quickly their developing.

She thinks they’ll be good this year, too, of course. She was speaking to the future of the program based on the question she was asked.

Getting back to the Memphis exhibition win, Gordon said MSU had seven new starters and to see them do so well was encouraging.

Big thing going forward for Gordon’s team is just to have good performances. He knows soccer is a cruel sport where you can dominate an entire game and still lose, but you put yourself into position to win with good performances. With a bad performance, you don’t have a chance. That’s what he’s going to be looking for early in the season.

Hearing Gordon talk, it sounds like he likes his defense and the growing talent across the field, defending and attacking. They’re getting more speed and power. The thing left is to get experience, which is something they’ll have to do as they go.

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