Currently in her fourth season as head coach of the volleyball team, Jolie Ward has compiled an impressive 70-39 career record.
Last year, Ward led the team to the second round of the NCAA Division III championship — their first NCAA appearance since 2010. After a strong weekend with her team going 3-0 in their namesake tournament the Violet Classic, Coach Ward spoke about the team’s progress and what to look out for during the rest of the season.
Q: What’s been the most pleasant surprise about the way the team has played so far?
A: We have seen many players on the court this season. Everyone has been able to contribute and make an impact. Teams usually don’t have the same depth as we have this year.
Q: What’s the best part about coaching at NYU?
A: The players make coaching at NYU a rewarding experience. They are all motivated and independent young women that are a pleasure to be around. They have such a diverse set of interests and goals that it makes conversations enjoyable and it is always wonderful to learn about their internships and study abroad experiences.
Q: What’s your favorite moment since you started coaching here?
A: Selection to the NCAA tournament was a high point for me and the team. It was a pleasant surprise but something we had worked toward all season.
Q: What is something the team needs to improve on going forward?
A: Our team has so much potential, so we really need to fine-tune the line up we want to work with going through the rest of the season. Details within our offense and defense will improve once we finalize our starting group.
Q: What are the final team goals you have set for this year?
A: [The] team goal is the return to the NCAA tournament with a strong performance in our conference.
Q: Are there any funny, personal anecdotes from this year you want to share?
A: The only thing I can say is that no one should be surprised to see a player that is typically considered to be serving one role on our team suddenly filling another. We have had setters become hitters and defense specialists work as setters. Anything is possible this season.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Sept. 22 print edition. Email Bobby Wagner at [email protected]