After going 2-6 to start conference play, the Colonels volleyball team is more than halfway through head coach Lori Duncan’s final season.
Duncan, who has served as head coach for the Colonels for the past 21 years, announced in January that 2018 would be her final season.
The Colonels started off the season 2-12 going into Ohio Valley Conference play, but were able to take the first two games of conference play against Tennessee Tech and Jacksonville State.
Duncan said that while the team might feel an added level of pressure to win this season, she doesn’t want it to be a distraction. She said this hasn’t stopped players and staff from vocalizing their desire to make it a winning season for her.
Over the years, Coach Duncan has sworn by two things that she said will help not only on the volleyball court, but also in life: grit and resilience.
Duncan’s words have reached many women in her 21 years as coach, and she said now that she’s retiring, she’d like to have more to do with getting alumni involved with the program to “honor them and bring them back on campus.”
“I think everybody that she’s coached has been impacted by her and I think with multiplication, those people are going to take things that they’ve learned from Coach and teach them to other people, and parts of her are going to be everywhere in the volleyball world,” said Cassie Knutson, a senior setter from San Diego.
During her time at EKU, the coach Duncan led her team to a regular season title and
conference championship in 2004, as well as another season title in 2005. For the past five years, EKU has seen winning conference numbers and played in three conference semifinals in that time.
Johnna Fouch, Duncan’s assistant coach for the past four seasons, said she’s learned the true
history of EKU volleyball from coach Duncan, whose volleyball career both as a player and a coach at EKU has spanned four decades.
“Her love for the game is what translates within our players and it’s not just volleyball. It’s with academics. It’s with the history behind it all,” Fouch said. “The history of EKU volleyball is very special.”
From here, the team faces a full slate of conference play, continuing with an away game against Eastern Illinois on Oct. 19 at 8 p.m. The OVC Tournament takes place in mid-November.
Coach Duncan said she wants the team to enjoy the games they have left together.
“I want them to enjoy every last second of it, knowing that in some way, shape or form we all have to graduate from it,” Duncan said. “Nobody can be in it forever.”
Duncan said though her and the senior players “graduation date” is coming, she wants the team to make the most of the season. “This team has the potential to win a championship.”