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  • Elephant in the Room

    What the heck is going on? Last year was a rebuilding year (disappointing still) and there have been some challenges this year with injuries, but can you imagine if GM had two seasons like this in basketball?

    ’72, what is going on and do you see the Shox competitive next year, or does Lamb’s better half need to rejoin the coaching staff?

    Has the momentum WSU had after the first year in the AAC now completely evaporated?

    What is going on?



  • #2
    First year in the American we were loaded with some of the best players at individual positions we've ever had and more than 1 were 5th year seniors. Combine that with several American teams taking volleyball seriously and it's just a completely different canvas than when we were in the Valley and the 1st year in the American.
    Yes, Lambo knows he has to recruit better, bigger, stronger athletes to compete successfully. But that takes time. For the most part, recruiting the type of kids we need is done by the end of their 2nd year in high school. Those kids have already committed so you are looking 3 years out (at least) to fundamentally change your plan, and even then you have to be right.
    No doubt we "missed" on a replacement for Emily Heibert and that has cost us. He hit bullseyes for 15 years and missed once. It happens, just not very often here.
    Still though, with a MUCH tougher league top to bottom (for a decade we could literally mail in 6-12 wins a year in conference), a very young team (7 of the 12 girls that played in our final match were freshmen) our best player and AA libero out all year, this team still competed against NCAA type teams (took sets off UCF and BYU and beat Tulsa, Tulane, probably should have beat Cal Poly and could have beat SMU....all teams in or close to being in the tournament).

    Mostly my point is we were the bully for most of the last 15 years in the Valley. It's a different world now and there's going to be some adjustment time. Personally, I have ZERO doubt we have the best person for the job and it's not very close. All the things you want from a program, academically, athletically, socially and spiritually Chris and Shannon check every box somehow someway. I don't believe there is any elephant in that room.
    Just my opinion.
    For perspective, 2014 (Hiebert & Lehman as redshirt freshman) was not a great year, no NCAA and I promise you the schedule that team played played in comparison to 2019 isn't close. Nor frankly was the conference.

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    • #3
      I'll chime in with my thoughts.

      1) The 2017 Shockers had "old" talent with many of the AAC teams having "young" talent. The closest call for the Shockers in a 20-0 conference season was a 3-2 win at UCF when the Shocks were trailing 1-2. Old teams will do that; young teams are far less likely to do that. Some of the AAC teams, of course, did not have enough talent, young or old.

      2) The 2018 Shockers had a noticeable drop-off in talent, particularly at the setting position.

      3) The recruiting needed to improve for the Shockers to compete in the AAC, a far tougher conference than the Valley.

      4) From the looks of the current freshmen and the incoming class, significant improvements have been made in recruiting. Especially in the last third or fourth of the season, several freshmen seemed to make the transition. (I am thinking specifically of Sophia and Kayce, but others may have more knowledgeable opinions than me.)

      5) It may take until 2021 for the Shockers to be "old" talent, but they appear to be on the right path.

      And then I will close with BWDIK.


      Edit: I see the Good Doctor beat me through the door, but I think we are saying things quite similar. Plus I will echo the thought that Lambo has not lost his touch, and that the recruiting cycle plays a role.
      Last edited by flyingMoose; November 26, 2019, 12:17 PM.

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      • #4
        I think WuDrWu and flyingMoose have covered it as well as anyone can. Recruiting against AAC schools is a whole different ball game than recruiting against Valley schools. There are a lot of really good volleyball players and it seems like everyone in the AAC has good athletes. I think volleyball is becoming the sport of choice for many female athletes who otherwise might be playing college basketball. There are still power programs at the top of the heap that can still pick and choose among the Top 100 players in the nation. But after that there is a ton of parity.

        As Doc pointed out Lambo did miss on a replacement for Emily Heibert. Which was his first miss in a long, long time after a stretch of really top notch setters in Andee Hartig, Abby Harsh, Mary Elizabeth Hooper, Chelsey Feekin and then Emily. Perhaps the same is true of the libero position with Karen Augspurger, Kelly Broussard, the Melissa Granville/Jackie Church combo, and Dani Mostrom before Giorgia. Giorgia was a great get but missed her 1st year due to injury, played 2 years and then missed this year due to injury.

        Apparently there were issues last year that involved team chemistry issues as much as talent. At least Lambo did not seem very happy with something last year. So after losing an outstanding class both in terms of talent and in terms of leadership at the end of the 2017 season the next season has large turnover due to perhaps other reasons. In volleyball the option of pulling players out of the juco ranks is typically not a good option. So this year is an extremely young team with the most likely team leader out for the year with an injury. Lambo really never did settle into a stable lineup or a set offense.

        Lambo is generally not going to get the players that you can just throw the ball up high and let them go get hand hit over the opponent. His system is relatively complicated and probably somewhat Greek to many young players to the point that he had to dumb things down this year. Normally, I think it would be his preference to redshirt players like Kayce Litzau and Sophia Rohling as he did with Emily Hiebert and Abby Lehman. Unfortunately, he did not feel like he had the luxury.

        So where are we at and where are we going. I think we saw some significant progress late in the year with Kayce and Sophia and RS Freshman Chinelo. And despite only graduating 2 seniors Lambo has brought in one of his biggest recruiting classes with 10 new players and those players for the most part look pretty good on paper. I do anticipate a number of these players will redshirt next year but 3 or 4 may very well contribute immediately. How healthy Giorgia will be and whether she can stay healthy remains to be seen and if she is healthy and can stay healthy will she apply to extend her 5 year clock to 6 years and play for 2 more years.

        I think next year the team will perform better than this year's team. Probably not getting back to the NCAA Tournament but hey should establish a sound foundation for taking a big step forward in 2021.

        As far as any elephant in the room I'm not seeing that. I think Lambo will retire at Wichita State if he wants to. Now I do think that one of the worst things fans can go at this point is to stay away from the matches during this lull. One of the main things Lambo has in his recruiting quiver is the support Shocker fans have given this program. I don't see any weakening of the support among diehards. The Volleyball Dinner & Auction was bigger than ever this year and the Volleyball Match Club members and attendance was also very strong this year. Hopefully, the more casual fans will hang in there as well because that is quite important to this program.

        The Shocks won't dominate the AAC in any sport the way they dominated the Valley in many sports. But I don't think Lambo is ready to concede anything.

        Last edited by 1972Shocker; November 26, 2019, 04:12 PM.

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        • #5
          I think we might have been a little spoiled the last 3-5 years. Hiebert/Lehman and Hiebert/Larson were some of the best combo connections this program has seen for a while. Also 2015 and 16 saw the Shocks win the MVC tournament on the road for the first time in school history. And the MVC had some very good teams at the top during that period. Our 18-0 run in the AAC might be a little deceiving in that several of the top players around the league were out with injuries. I think the early signing of players in high school make it hard to turn a program around very quickly. We have been blessed with some good transfers over the years, hard to count on that though. Looks like there is more size coming in and personally I'm very optimistic about the future!

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          • #6
            On an earlier radio show, Lamb said he really had to take a long look in the mirror. Does he need to return for a longer look?

            I don’t understand the pedestal a lot of you put him on.

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            • #7
              I wish we had a smaller 3000-5000 seat arena for Volleyball. It would allow for a dedicated home for the program and give us a recruiting advantage over other AAC schools. I know it's a pipe dream but it is one of the few sports on campus that has proven it can be nationally competitive and actually attract fans to create an atmosphere.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Shockerman View Post
                I wish we had a smaller 3000-5000 seat arena for Volleyball. It would allow for a dedicated home for the program and give us a recruiting advantage over other AAC schools. I know it's a pipe dream but it is one of the few sports on campus that has proven it can be nationally competitive and actually attract fans to create an atmosphere.
                I agree. It could be a great benefit.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Veritas View Post

                  I agree. It could be a great benefit.
                  The Heskett could be remodeled to accomodate volleyball without sacrificing indoor track.
                  Last edited by shoxlax; 3 weeks ago.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by shoxlax View Post

                    The Heskett could be remodeled to accomodate volleyball with sacrificing indoor track.
                    Did you mean without sacrificing indoor track?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Veritas View Post
                      I don’t understand the pedestal a lot of you put him on.


                      Repeating, for emphasis......

                      "I don't understand the pedestal a lot of you put him on."







                      I'm just going to let that sit here for awhile.






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                      • #12
                        Kind of like the pedestal on which wuducwu placed Todd Butler

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                        • #13
                          Anyone notice the decline in Wichita State Shocker Volleyball coincides with the increased interest in Lambo and his assistants recruiting kids to Shockwave Club volleyball? Perhaps more time should be spent on recruiting and making the College Shockers better?
                          Last edited by jimshocker; 3 weeks ago.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by jimshocker View Post
                            Anyone notice the decline in Wichita State Shocker Volleyball coincides with the increased interest in Lambo recruiting kids to Shockwave Club volleyball? Perhaps more time should be spent on making the College Shockers better?
                            When did this event begin?

                            Is it still going on?



                            I knew Lambo started Shockwaves years ago. There was some discussion as to the legality of it from a recruiting standpoint shortly thereafter and I didn't know what his level of involvement was today, and apparently it's very much hands on.

                            Probably a fair question but I'm suspecting that whatever day to day involvement he has, it's a necessary evil given all the moving parts in revenue and recruiting these days.
                            Last edited by WuDrWu; 3 weeks ago.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by jimshocker View Post
                              Anyone notice the decline in Wichita State Shocker Volleyball coincides with the increased interest in Lambo and his assistants recruiting kids to Shockwave Club volleyball? Perhaps more time should be spent on recruiting and making the College Shockers better?
                              Interesting... that might explain some issues.

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