Inside the culture and legacy of St. Mary’s volleyball

Sports

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Over halfway through the volleyball season, the St. Mary’s Lancers are off to yet another stellar season. The Lancers are undefeated in Monsignor Martin play, are 10-0 in matches, and have a 20-6 overall record through the first half of the season.

“I would say resiliency is probably our best asset right now. We’ve had some injuries that just keep mounting up and the next person is stepping up and doing a pretty good job,” St. Mary’s head coach Don Pieczynski said. “The season is long, there’s a lot of peaks and valleys, and we’ve been pretty resilient thus far. It’s just the next man up mentality that we train everybody to be versatile, and it helps us continue our success.”

When you win 17 consecutive league titles, you’re doing something right.

The Lancers have dominated Monsignor Martin for the entirety of most of the players on this team’s lifetimes, and they say the reason they see so much success year in and year out is because of the culture, and the legacy of winning.

“The culture is my favorite thing about this team,” St. Mary’s senior setter Courtney Kurkowiak said. “We have very specific traditions and we follow them every year, we do chapels which basically gets us in the right mindset and everybody talks and shares their feels about how everything is going.

“We share gifts, it’s really good. That culture and that expectation that we have from our legacy is just something that we have to look up to. We know we have a target on our back every year, but it just makes it more of a challenge and more exciting,” Kurkowiak said.

Year after year, incoming classes know what they have to live up to when it comes to being a Lancer, and nobody wants to be the team that breaks the streak.

Coach Pieczynski says that he doesn’t really have to drive it home to the girls, because every single player knows what they need to do to keep up the winning tradition of St. Mary’s volleyball.

“We have a legacy of winning here, and it’s up to them to continue the legacy. But they have to create it themselves. It just doesn’t happen,” Pieczynski said. “They owe it to past teams that came through and they should come in and be better than them. I think they know that coming in, and it’s pretty much relayed by the seniors and upperclassmen, and so far, so good. They’ve been continuing the tradition.”

“Just the legacy that we have built behind us and that we continue to strive for. It’s amazing to see the girls behind me wanting the same thing and me wanting to push them to make it better,” St. Mary’s senior libero Jordan Hummel said.

St. Mary’s looks to go 8-0 in Monsignor Martin play when they travel to take on the Nardin Gators tomorrow at 6pm.

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