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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Two Years in the Making

In a surprising turn, the Little East Conference committee voted to eliminate league volleyball doubleheaders, starting in 2010. This decision came as a delight to Vice Chancellor Charlie Titus and Lady Beacon Head Coach Terry Condon, who had been pushing this issue for two years.

“I was very surprised [by the decision], because it wasn’t on the [meeting’s] agenda,” Condon said. ” But I had Charlie bring it up, and he did a great job framing it.”

The new scheduling will not take effect until 2010, because the schedules have already been laid out in advance for the 2009 season. Instead of many teams now playing twice in a single day against multiple league teams, each team will play once against a single opponent. This will undoubtedly raise the general level of team competition, and allow each school to focus on that day’s opponent.

“For anyone in the conference to play back to backs in conference competition doesn’t help the conference at all,” Titus said following the meeting.

Based on excessive travel to take part in these doubleheaders, UMB was hurt more than any other school by the current scheduling. Fatigue was definitely a factor in their doubleheader split after winning the first match against Eastern Connecticut but dropping game two against Keene State. “We finally took the welfare of our athletes into consideration,” Condon said.

Condon had been campaigning for change for quite some time, but appeared to be making no headway as her proposals went largely ignored. “For the past two years I’ve been trying to get it changed, and the other coaches in the conference don’t want to change it,” a frustrated Condon said before the weekend meetings. “The other coaches have been [used to this scheduling] a long time and don’t want to change.”

Titus and Condon made yet another appeal to the conference, on behalf of their players and school. This time, the presentation took effect, and the decision passed with a 6-2 vote (with Keene State and Plymouth State dissenting). “We needed a scenario that made it clear to our players and to everybody else that our scheduling would compliment our efforts to strengthen the conference,” Titus said.

Each volleyball program is allowed 22 days of competition. By squeezing the doubleheaders into a single day, it opened up days for non-league competition. However, the non-league matches usually do not aide teams in search of an at-large NCAA tournament bid. The best way to get into the national tournament is to win the league, thus making league games even more important.

“My big push is that conference is the most important thing,” Condon said. “Conference play is the only thing that gets us into the NCAA tournament, so why aren’t we making this a priority?”

The committee decided to make LEC play the priority, and now the conference will have a more centered focus on the volleyball matches that will dictate postseason play. The scheduling change left UMB, as well as some other schools, satisfied. “We got that done and I was pretty happy about it and I think Terry is pretty happy about it,” Titus said. ” And at the end of the day, I think the entire group of athletic directors felt good about it because it makes sense.”