August 26, 2013

Meet Nicole: The Year Ahead

Nicole Lantagne Welch faced some of the top teams in the country in the ACC, and she will continue to play the NCAA's best with UCSB's 2013 schedule. The Gauchos will be put to the test early this season with a nonconference schedule that boasts six NCAA Tournament teams from last season, five of which UCSB will face on the road in September. In this edition of Meet Nicole, Lantagne Welch discusses the challenges of the 2013 schedule and how she will prepare her team for them. 

Season tickets for Lantange Welch's first season at the helm are now available by calling 805 893-UCSB (8272) or by going online. Family Plans of five season tickets- two adults and three GKids- can also be purchased for $100. Adult tickets will receive the commemorative UCSB Volleyball long sleeved shirt with purchase and GKids will receive the 2013 GKids t-shirt.

Each season ticket holder will have access to the Founders Room for light pregame refreshments.

UCSB will be opening up against Stanford in the Thunderdome later this week. How are you getting the team ready for this big match?

We're taking the whole season one step at a time. We'll be getting the team together and going one practice at a time and getting better each day. Obviously, Stanford is an extremely successful opponent coming in. They are ranked no. three in the country to start this season. This matchup will be great for volleyball and the community, so we'll do our job in taking this one day at a time, progressively getting better and taking things from there.

The opening match for any season is exciting, but will Aug. 30 be that much more exciting because you'll be facing a national powerhouse? 

I personally like to look at every match the same. I think it's a lot more exciting to the fans that it's an opponent like Stanford.

How are you prepping the players mentally for the start of the season?

I'm sure they're going to be excited and fired up. That's natural for a matchup like this in college sports, but at the same time we as a coaching staff want them to know that it's just one match in the entirety of the schedule that we have in front of us.

For you personally, that match will be your Gaucho debut. What do you think that match will be like for you?

It'll be exciting to finally be able to get this group together and get out on the court and play. It's definitely something that we are all looking forward to.

In September, you'll go on the road and face a tough schedule, which includes five teams that competed in last year's NCAA Tournament. Do you feel this schedule is great preparation for the team leading up to Big West play? 

Absolutely. It's an extremely challenging schedule. We'll be on the road for everything while going up against quality opponents who have a history in volleyball for consistently having great teams. We're going to get a lot of tests and we'll get to see where we stack up and work from there. It's definitely something that will help prepare us for the conference season.

From your experience, what is the key to success on the road?

Consistency in your play is a big key. Again, it's about approaching each match the same and getting out there with the same kind of fight, energy, and execution. It's taking care of things one match at a time. Don't look ahead or behind, just focus on what's in front of you.

Check back here at UCSBGauchos.com for more Meet Nicole Interviews leading up to the season opener on Aug. 30 against no. 3 Stanford in the Thunderdome.

To read past editions of Meet Nicole, click here.

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