Michigan Volleyball Schedule, Coach and Athlete Quotes and Interviews at
Big Ten Volleyball Media Days

Michigan Volleyball Schedule, Comments and Quotes from
Coach Mark Rosen and Wolverines volleyball players Jess Robinson and Jess Mruzik

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The Big Ten Volleyball Media Days event on Monday, August 1, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois at the Big Ten Network was attended by interviewees Michigan head coach Mark Rosen and top Wolverines volleyball players Jess Robinson and Jess Mruzik who discussed the Michigan State volleyball schedule, the upcoming season, the NIL, the recruiting success for the team and a preview on the NCAA tournament.

The Michigan Volleyball Schedule 

COACH ROSEN: Excited for this event. It's great to have Big Ten support for something like this and for our sport and for all the programs for the Big Ten.

We're excited about this season. If you're not excited now when are you going to be? For sure. We had a great spring this last spring. So we always feel like the season actually starts back March, April, May, when we're doing the preseason training.

I liked the development of this team. I liked the direction we were going. We have a lot of competition within the gym which I think is a really healthy, good thing. We're excited about that part of it.

We actually feel more of a veteran team now which has been a while. We've been a pretty young team for the last couple of years through the pandemic. So it's nice to be what I would consider much more of a veteran team now. And I'm excited about getting, stepping into the gym, stepping on the floor with a veteran group that kind of understands this level and what it takes to be successful at this level. So we're ready to get started. It will be fun.

Michigan Volleyball Schedule, Comments and Quotes from
Coach Mark Rosen and Wolverines volleyball players Jess Robinson and Jess Mruzik

Q. Coach, as we know it's the anniversary of Title IX. And you have, not to show age, been coaching for half of that time. What is it like, though, to see that transition from year one to now and we're sitting at a circumstance like this?

COACH ROSEN: It's been amazing. I think as coaches we're always pushing for what's next. How do we get better, how do we grow within our team, but also within our sport?

So it's funny, I'll go to these, when I was the president of the AVCA a few years ago, we're constantly talking about how do we grow our sport, how do we get better. I want to push those. We want to push the edge of the envelope. But I want to sit back and look and go, man, look how far we've come. Since I got into this business back in the late 1980s, the change in what the support has been for women's athletics, for women's volleyball has been amazing.

Since I started in the Big Ten, in 1999, the growth and the change has been amazing. So I feel like we're really moving in a good direction. And I think about, too, men had 100-year headstart. And so we're moving at a really good pace right now.

I think that I see our sport, but women's athletics in general being revenue-driven, being something that could be at a point where it's got a huge upside that people want to be involved in, want to pay for, want to get behind a sponsor. We're moving in a really good direction. But we always want to move faster. We always want to move farther.

I think we have a lot of work still to do. But the advancement -- and if you look at our game, too, our game has come so far. Ours is definitely an evolutionary sport. People around this sport a lot see that.

Just in the last five years, the change in our sport, the last 10 years. So it's a really fun game to watch. And I think it's a really fun, easy game to market as well.

Michigan Volleyball Schedule, Comments and Quotes from
Coach Mark Rosen and Wolverines volleyball players Jess Robinson and Jess Mruzik at the Big 10 Media Days Press Conference

Q. Jess, is this a correct statement, would you address it, when you first started at Michigan, it came real easy real fast and then it got a lot harder. And then you figured it out a little bit and you maybe got better. Is that fair?

JESS MRUZIK: Yeah, I definitely would say that's fair, especially in my situation. I came in a semester early. I graduated high school early. I was there in January and things were great, practices were great, health was great. And then a couple weeks before the pandemic happened, I came down with mono pretty bad.

I dealt with that for, like, two, three weeks. I was back on campus for one day and then Michigan shut down for the pandemic. It was real easy. Practices were great, and then through my mono recovery and through the pandemic, it definitely got a little bit harder. And now I'm finally in the flow of things again.

Q. Did the volleyball come easy at first, like when you got on the court as a freshman? That's what I meant, too, it's like they figured you out in a hurry and you had to adjust?

JESS MRUZIK: It was a challenge coming in. I felt like I was pretty prepared coming in. So I think it was easy at first, and then you find out really quickly and I found out really quickly that teams in the Big Ten learn how to learn you quickly.

So they figured me out pretty quickly. I struggled with that. I had never really dealt with any teams trying to target me or come after me. And the Big Ten is pretty ruthless. They did that to me.

But I like to think I'm figuring it out every day. Teams are still trying to come after me and figure me out. But just gotta stay one step ahead of them.

Q. Mark, could you talk about that, about her?

COACH ROSEN: We see that with every player that comes into this level. It's such a big jump. I actually think Jess made that transition faster than most, but when you're in the middle of it as an individual you never feel like it's fast enough.

But she's right. I mean, a lot of people they've done things to try to affect her game because they need to be able to try to slow her down. She's one of the best learners I've ever worked with. She picks things up very quickly.

She's very -- extremely competitive. She'll find a way. It's been fun to watch her and see her go about her work every day in practice but also in matches to be able to counter that.

And I think that's a true test of a champion is somebody who can take those battles and really kind of enjoy the battles as well as learn through them.

Jess Mruzik Comments and Quotes about the Michigan Volleyball Schedule and Being Preseason All Conference Team
at the Big 10 Media Days Press Conference

Q. Congratulations being on the preseason all-conference team. But going in your third year, what do you see yourself on and off the court, [inaudible]? Obviously it's a veteran team, but obviously it's going to be different?

JESS MRUZIK: Like Mark mentioned, I'm pretty competitive. That's definitely what I like to bring into the gym every day and into our practices. This year I definitely see myself as someone who is going to try and push my teammates to be better every single day but also they're pushing me to be better. So it's pretty easy, it's a hand-in-hand relationship between me and my teammates.

But definitely I just think getting in the gym every single day pushing my teammates. At the same time they're pushing me. So I think it's just going to be mutually beneficial for both of us.

Q. Mark, I heard you mention just a couple minutes ago that you believe that college volleyball has changed significantly, even just over a 5- or 10-year period. Could you be a little more specific about what some of those changes either athletically or administratively have been over a relatively smaller time period?

COACH ROSEN: I think the game's always evolving. It always has been ever since I got involved, even as a player. And I think as coaches, as student-athletes, we need to be very aware of where it's going to kind of keep up with those trends.

I think just the last five years, blocking's become much more of a factor. The tactics and techniques people are using in blocking is much more sophisticated and much more challenging. So, your offense has to be able to counter that compete with that.

The back row attack has been a huge growth in the sport. It was very much on the men's side. It's evolved much more on the women's side the last, four, five, six years and changed the game dramatically. Those are two things.

Serving I think is changing very quickly and serving is becoming so much more of a part of the game. People think of serving in our sport as a way to start of the rally. It's so much more than that. It's being able to attack the team in a way that sets your defense up to allow you to be successful.

As we prepare for teams, we really try to get a feel for what they're doing serving-wise. At the same time we're really trying to set up our serving to really allow our defense to be successful.

So all those things are just constantly evolving. I think if I look back at videotape from five, six, seven years ago, I'm sure I would be like, wow, we were in a whole different place.

But that's what makes it fun. That's what makes my job really exciting is because every year we've got to be evolving and changing. I think it's what's great for the student-athletes because they can't be comfortable and get used to doing something because, as Jess said, people will prepare and take that away so what are you going to do next?

I love where our game's at now and I think it's just continuing to get better and better.

Q. Jess Robinson, you're one of five players that started all 30 matches last year. How much did that consistency help you all develop and kind of get that seniority that Coach was talking about, kind of that return? You lose Paige, but the rest of the core is coming back. How much did that help you become one of those core teams?

JESS ROBINSON: I think this year going in, I think it's really going to show. I think our spring season was really evident of how much seniority we have on the team now, given seniors and sophomores and juniors as well.

And we also have really good freshmen coming in. I think our core four, that you were saying, I think we really settled in with each other. We've gotten really comfortable playing with each other.

I think also we're really hungry. We know what we can do. We know how far our team can go. Also we know when we're up against. We're not freshmen, we're not sophomores anymore. I think we're really ready to take on the Big Ten and show them what we've been doing in the gym every day.

Q. Mark, what's a probable depth chart for you at various positions?

COACH ROSEN: It's too early. We need to get in the gym to see. We'll have the starters from last year. They'll be right in the mix of things for sure. But there's also new players in our gym whether it's transfers that have come in, freshmen we want to see what they're going to do.

I think before we start practice I'd rather just leave it open and let's see what we do in the gym.

But I think we're going to be deep. That's what I'm excited about. I think in every position there's going to be competition. And I think that's a really good thing.

Q. If you're healthy, would you know how to handle it?

COACH ROSEN: I'd love that. It's so weird. We've talked a lot, we talk around the pandemic and all the stuff that's happened. Like this group, honestly, hasn't seen a normal year yet. That's what I'm super excited about.

Last year, even though we went through the whole season with no issues, but going into it it felt we were tiptoeing into the season. It's like, okay, is everything going to be okay.

As Jess said, she described her freshman year, her first experiences that pre-freshman in the winter of her senior high school, really, and it just kept going with just craziness, things that we had to deal with.

So I was thinking about it on the way here today, this is the first year for these guys to know we're just going in ready to play volleyball. All the other stuff is not really there. It's not bouncing around. You're not worried about this, worried about that, knock on wood.

And it's nice. It's nice just to be focused on volleyball and being able to get after it. And I think this group's really ready.

I thought spring was super normal. It was great to be able to go in and work on getting better every day and go into these spring competitions, they're very different because you could play good teams but there's nothing on the line other than just learning and getting better. And to watch how our team competed in those situations, we played some really good teams this spring, and they competed really well.

So I just feel like we're going into a year that's going to be -- for me it's normal because I've been doing this for a long time, but for these guys I'm excited for them to see what it's like to not have to worry about all the other stuff that we've had to deal with.

Q. Mark, how big of an issue is it for you, you mentioned seeing your team in the spring but then you have no contact through the summer. You have a real short run-up before you start playing matches for real, different than, say, football, no contact, like basketball gets. How big of an issue is that, and do you see it being resolved at any time?

COACH ROSEN: I think it's a big issue. I know the AVCA, the coach association, is working on that right now, trying to work with the NCAA to try to see if we can open that up.

I think more than anything, it's dangerous to have people coming in and you have two and a half weeks to get ready to play matches. That's tough.

And we want to try -- I was talking to our staff about this this week -- we want to try to be really careful about how we ramp up and make sure that we do it in a really good way and healthy way and a strategic way. But we also -- there's such a short period of time, you have to try to get a lot of stuff in in a short period of time.

I think there's certainly opportunities that would be good. At the same time we don't want to get to the point -- the rules are in place for a reason because people exploited them and overdid it. And so the NCAA had to kind of ratchet things down. I get it.

We need to be smart with that, too. We can't take summer away from these guys. Summer is important. The break is important. These guys need that. There's internships. There's other things you need to do.

We need to be really thoughtful of how we do that and make sure we don't go crazy one way. But we also, what we're doing right now I think is pretty prohibitive in getting everybody ready and in a healthy way. The good thing is our team's work over the summer individually to do that.

I know they're all back now working together to try to do that. We can't be in the gym with them yet. But they're trying to ramp it up in a smart way so they can be ready to go when we hit the practice gym next week.

But I think we need to look at some summer access as a way to help bridge that gap where we aren't being unhealthy with how we ramp into things.

Q. Has there been any specific instances, whether that be injuries or just communication issues or whatnot, that have come up that might have been solved if you had contact with practices between the two and a half week fall camp?

COACH ROSEN: I don't know if I could point to anything specifically say that injury because of this. I think there's inherent things in any sport where people can get hurt. But I think -- we've tried to be very careful over the years. We try not to jump into it knowing that we have this short window.

I don't know that I can specifically say, hey, there's this data or this situation. But I think anybody could look at it and say, hey, you've got 17 days to get ready to play at a Division I level, at the highest level, that's a little unrealistic. And especially if the student-athletes weren't doing anything to prepare themselves. And theoretically they could do that. They don't because they're super competitive and they want to be great. But that's not a real fair approach to it to say you have 17 days, go.

So I don't think we need data to say there's got to be a better way but I want to look at it from both perspectives. We have to be smart and not -- we don't want to take summer away from anybody. We don't want to take away some natural breaks they need academically as well as athletically.

We've got to be mindful of that process because the season's long. The season's very long. I think there could be a more graduated approach to it, where maybe there's the first week of practice has a certain number of opportunities and then the next week has more opportunities and it kind of gradually builds.

But I think what we're doing now, we certainly could find a better way, I think.

Q. Jess, during the summer, has there been a specific teammate who stood out to you that has improved a ton and is ready for a big season?

JESS MRUZIK: It's tough to pick just one, especially because, like Mark said, everybody's been back on campus -- a lot of us stayed on campus instead of going home, and we found internships and opportunities in Ann Arbor. We were able to train with everyone throughout the season.

But I would definitely say that last year's freshmen have made a huge improvement. Just seeing them come in last summer, they came in early so they could train with us last year. Seeing them come in last summer to this summer and seeing them work through this summer with all of us and their class and then the incoming freshmen that we have this year has just been a huge leap forward for them. It's incredible to see how they've matured over the course of one year. I'm really excited for this year's sophomores.

The Michigan Volleyball Schedule Effect

Q. This past season obviously you guys got to the NCAA Tournament. And is that goal to get back there improve especially considering you guys talk about how it's more veteran teams, sort of more experience, and especially having a toe in the tournament, can you get past more than a couple of rounds, everything?

COACH ROSEN: I'll start and let these guys go. You said we got a toe in. We didn't do as well in the tournament as we wanted to do. We think we can do much better than that. I thought last year was interesting because sometimes you don't know what you don't know until you're in it.

We had a really young team who had had not really a normal season in their experience so far. And you could see that when we got into that match.

And it was a great match. It went five and we had a chance to win it a couple different times. But you could feel the nervousness and tentativeness and the newness to this group.

That's a great experience for us. Those are great learning opportunities. And so I'm excited about -- I thought this spring was really that kind of launched us into the spring. We were in some really tense, like, competitive, gritty situations this spring. And I saw a different team because of that.

So that's exciting. For us, it's always our expectation's always to be in the NCAA Tournament and to go as far and deep as we can. And I think this team has great potential there. I'll let them run with it, too.

JESS ROBINSON: I was going to say I definitely think we can go far in the NCAA Tournament this year. I think everyone knows the seriousness of it. We all know what it takes. We all know how much we have to give, how much we have to put in every single day for the next four, five months, and I think we're all ready for that and we're definitely all old enough that we've been through it once.

I think the first time is definitely a bit of a shock for people, just the intensity, the one-and-doneness of it all. And this year especially with it being my last year, we're not going down without a fight.

The last game you see us in will definitely be a really good game.

JESS MRUZIK: Obviously I agree with both of them. And like Jess mentioned earlier, we're hungrier this year.

One thing we pride ourselves on as a team we don't ever take any moral victories. Like Mark said, that was a learning experience, that was great and we'll run with it, but that match definitely hurt. I've played with a lot of girls on the Michigan team for basically my whole life. I played club with Jess and I've played with Hannah since I was like 13.

I've never seen our team react the way that we did after and disappointment, sadness, hurt. You could just visually see on people's faces that we were disappointed. I definitely know we'll play with a fire under us this year.

Like Jess said we're not going down without a fight in any of our matches and we're definitely hungry.

Michigan Volleyball Schedule, Comments and Quotes from
Coach Mark Rosen and Wolverines volleyball players Jess Robinson and Jess Mruzik at the Big 10 Media Days Press Conference

Q. With the current growth of volleyball as a sport and media coverage with events like today and the Big Ten Conference television contract, how does that support and facilitate the growth of the support?

JESS ROBINSON: I just think that people are really seeing it more often. Like people on the street will be I saw you on TV or at the baseball game. I saw your game. And I feel more people know about it than like the last decade or sewed. I feel like it's growing so fast. There are little girls all over the nation playing volleyball who have people they look up to.

So I feel like the sport is growing so fast. If you see our camps, we're full to the brim. I think it's just really great for the sport. College teams are about to be really, really good because there's going to be so much competition coming up.

JESS MRUZIK: I agree with media. It keeps evolving. And I think there's always new ways to get like content out there. And I think especially with today, like, this is a huge step in the volleyball world. We're definitely setting precedent for people to follow.

But I just think the media has helped build this little community within volleyball itself. These kids that come to camp, they take pictures with us and they tag us on their Instagram and then they follow us on Instagram.

It's cool to have this network and community with people from all over the world.

COACH ROSEN: I think our sport's growing so fast right now. I think it's a great thing. We have 55 matches this year on the Big Ten Network or ESPN from our conference. That's going to be huge for us. I have a lot of friends that are sports guys, sports people, and volleyball is not necessarily on their radar. And all of a sudden over the last few years it has been. I was flipping through channels and I stopped on that. It was a really good game exciting. The great thing about volleyball we're very much standing on our own.

We're a sport people are watching because it's fun to watch, because it's exciting, it's drama, great athleticism. They're seeing this and they're getting attracted to our sport. I think that's great.

We don't have a pro league like the NFL that they're watching or whatever that then draws them to us in college. We're doing this on our own. And I think it's great to see the growth of it.

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You might like these pages below about when is NCAA volleyball championship and the Indiana volleyball schedule. 

  1. Improve Your Volleyball Performance with Private Volleyball Coach April Chapple
  2. Volleyball Tournaments Manhattan 6 Man and Other Summer Tournaments
  3. Michigan Volleyball Schedule and Quotes at Big 10 Volleyball Media Days

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