Monday’s practice was spent deconstructing the smaller details of volleyball.
The Central Lakes College Raiders worked on communication, listening and passing.
The deficiencies were discovered after two losses at the North Dakota State School of Science tournament Saturday.
The Raiders, ranked 10th in the NJCAA Division III poll, saw their 13-match win streak snapped and their record fall to 14-5 after losses to Bismarck and Williston.
What wasn’t talked about Monday was No. 500. Raiders head coach Jane Peterson would prefer it wouldn’t be mentioned. To her it’s just a round number.
But 500 is what the Raiders will be playing for at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday when they host Fond Du Lac in a Northern Division game at the Brainerd campus.
That’s how many career victories Peterson will have tallied in her 22-year coaching career if CLC prevails. The Raiders’ head coach for 17 years owns a career record of 499-224.
“Why do we feel the need to celebrate round numbers,” Peterson pondered.
Peterson would rather celebrate an undefeated division record, which the Raiders hope to do this season. They stand at 7-0 after the first round of playing each team in the division. Peterson would rather celebrate a region title, a trip to the national tournament and even another national title.
Celebrating 500 ...
“This just makes me feel old,” said Peterson.
Peterson described herself as a forward-looking type person. She said she’s not very good at history, but she does remember her first loss as the CLC coach.
The native of California finished her first season at CLC with a 13-16 record in 1991. She has suffered only two other losing seasons since. She guided the Raiders to national championships in 2000, 2001 and 2007.
“I can remember national championships as big wins and a couple of the state championships that were big wins or where we were playing really good teams and had to work hard against them to get wins, but I can’t remember my first win,” Peterson said. “I know all my players, but I can’t tell you what years they were here or who they played with.
“Those are the people that earned the wins. I kind of just watched.”
Peterson deflected more questions about 500 wins than her teams deflects kill attempts. She also ended any talk of retirement.
“This is just really fun for me to do,” she said. “I have a supportive family and a husband who can not eat a cooked meal all fall. I feel like I’m at my peak for my craft.
“It’s not just about teaching volleyball, but sports psychology and learning about group dynamics, muscle development and how your brain makes your body work. It’s those kind of things that I’m still very curious about and want to learn more about. I can’t imagine I would ever find another job that I love to do and get paid for.”
Peterson’s list of accomplishments are long. She’s coached 17 All-Americans and has coached teams to nine national tournaments. She has won six conference championships.
After her team won the 2007 national championship, Peterson was named the Two-Year College Southwest Regional Coach of the Year and the Two-Year College National Coach of the Year by the American Volleyball Coaches Association.
None of that matters to Peterson. What does matter is Wednesday’s opponent.
“What nobody seems to want to talk about is the team we’re playing,” Peterson said. “We lost the first set to them and they were better than we thought they were and we weren’t ready to play them the first time.
“We need to come prepared to play that team and show that we’ve learned something since the last time we played them. We need to concentrate on the next seven matches. I’m more concerned about 506 wins than 500 because that means we’ll have reached our goal of going undefeated in the division.”