‘I wasn’t too surprised’: Shocker volleyball coach reacts to postponed season


Marshall Sunner

Wichita State head coach Chris Lamb speaks to his team during a timeout against Texas on Saturday, September 15 inside Charles Koch Arena.

Earlier this week, the American Athletic Conference announced that the volleyball season would be delayed until Spring 2021. 

Although many were shocked by this decision, Wichita State volleyball head coach Chris Lamb wasn’t one of them.

“My first reaction was well, glad that we gave it the old varsity effort but there’s too many unknowns,” Lamb said. “There just weren’t  answers yet. Some of those questions are going to be really important to some people. When they don’t know what they’re going to do and certain things happen, that makes it uneasy. I wasn’t too surprised.”

There was much uncertainty surrounding the volleyball season which included the AAC originally postponing fall Olympic sports until the beginning of September. But for Lamb, this was a consensus among everyone.

“Well, I don’t think anybody could be surprised with all we’ve been seeing and learning as we go,” Lamb said.

A major part of this decision was to further align with the postponement of the fall sports championships which were delayed until the spring earlier this month. 

As the news surfaced across social media, Lamb became disappointed that he was unable to inform his players prior to the news coming out. 

“Honestly, I was disappointed the word got out before I could get to them,” Lamb said. “Word travels fast these days. I was just disappointed that they had to hear it from other people, not us.” 

As Lamb went to talk with his team, the main message was that there was still hope of a season happening and only time will tell. 

“The message was, it wasn’t a canceled season, it’s a postponed season,” he said. “So, we still have hope and with that hope might come more understanding with how we deal with all this stuff.” 

One of the positives that Lamb was able to take away from this situation was the possibility of non-conference matches being introduced with a focus on regionalized matches. 

“I’m hopeful if we do this in the spring they may involve regional non-conference matches which allow us to play in some of the more regional Big-12 schools,” Lamb said. “So, it may be a better schedule in store for us this spring. I might say that if that happens it was a win.”

One of the main challenges that exists is regarding the amount of practice time that is allowed for the team. Currently, teams are only allowed 20-hour segments across 132 days within a given annual. 

This could present some challenges if the team winds up practicing too much within this season. According to Lamb, the program is still awaiting some direction on that with the possibility of some rule changes. 

Even with the season up in the wings, Lamb has been impressed to this point with the amount of focus there has been which even resulted in one of the better practices from the team. 

“I have asked them all to think real hard about that and how important a match is for training and development,” Lamb said. “I know they’re fun but I’m trying to make practice about practice, technique and training and what not. (Assistant coach) Sean (Carter) commented right after practice that was one of the better practices that we’ve had in a while. I really liked it a lot.”

The postponement could also cause some issues especially for WSU senior Emma Wright. Since Wright had already redshirted, it could cause issues even though the NCAA gave athletes an extra year of eligibility. 

“The NCAA is going to give them a year of eligibility back, but is that what Emma wants for Emma Wright?” Lamb said. “Maybe she was just planning on just playing this semester and moving on.”

Lamb also said that senior setter McKayla Wuensch and him had a discussion about a possible redshirt prior to the season and it is something that they could revisit in the future. 

The AAC is currently planning to announce the spring regular season and championship formats and schedules after the NCAA Division I Council clarifies the revised playing and practice season and championship formats. No WSU sports have released any type of schedule at this point.