‘I’m proud of the girls,’ Coach Jeff Reynolds says.
EPHRAIM—Jeff Reynolds was hired as a collegiate volleyball coach on Feb. 1, 2016.
He’d been a high school coach for one year.
On Friday, Reynolds won his third conference championship in four seasons with Snow College.
And the Badgers are as good as ever this season. They are 21-2, with a 9-1 conference record. They have been nationally ranked sixth or higher each week of this season. They won six of their last seven matches in straight sets.
They posted a 9-2 record against nationally ranked opponents. And they won 10 straight matches to finish the regular season in advance of their Region 18 tournament beginning at 7 p.m. Friday at the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield.
“It’s been a nice year,” Reynolds said.
When asked if Reynolds meant a national championship when he said his team had “certain goals” that needed to involve a conference title, Reynolds said this:
“I don’t know why you would compete at the collegiate level and winning at the highest level wouldn’t be one of your goals. I don’t know why you would throw yourself short in that aspect. … If you sell yourself short, then what lessons are you missing out on?
“We have the goal of being as successful as we can and you can fill in the blank from there,” Reynolds told the Sanpete Messenger.
“I’m proud of the girls,” Reynolds said. “They showed a maturity and a focus that has been impressive to watch as a coach,”
Speaking on that “maturity and focus,” Reynolds pointed out “little things that happen” on a college campus with girls (“or boys, it doesn’t matter,” Reynolds said) between 18 and 20 years old. Reynolds said that the team is here to go to class and accomplish its goals.
“We can talk about focus, but it takes a maturity to focus,” Reynolds said. “It’s expected in our culture that when you play volleyball at Snow College, that you are going to be here and do this and be here and do that.”
Having focus despite being young is one of the things that Reynolds and his assistant coaches look for in the recruiting process, he said.
Reynolds said, “We’ve learned some valuable lessons the past couple years about how to manage the postseason, and that experience feels like it’s paying off.” Lessons learned include not playing too many games.
Previously, Snow was “beat up” and “duct taped” at the national tournament and Reynolds lost one of his players to an ankle injury. So this year, Reynolds didn’t have his team play in the final week of non-region play.
And Reynolds feels that two seasons ago, the team didn’t show up at nationals, instead being impressed to reach that level for the first time in nearly four decades.
COVID-19 presented the biggest block on the Badgers’ path to a title, Reynolds said, presenting a scenario: “If the girl tests positive, who was she around? Who has to go into quarantine?”
Also, various gyms in which Snow played had different rules, from no high-fives allowed to no fans.
“It’s been a big challenge moving our season from the fall to the spring,” Reynolds added.
In five years, the community support has gone from “Oh, I didn’t know Snow had a volleyball team” to “When is your next game?” Reynolds said.
“I hope they come down to Richfield on Friday,” Reynolds said.