Mayer believes in players
The Santa Monica College Corsairs men's volleyball team's missed opportunities and inconsistent play have left them out of the playoffs for the first time since head coach John Mayer took over four years ago. But despite feelings of frustration from the lack of a finals result, Mayer refuses to look down on his team, recognizing their potential and effort.
"We were a pretty talented team," said Mayer, "I felt like we were capable of beating anybody in the state."
The activity on the scoreboard this season made the Corsairs ups and downs clear, usually a slow start followed by a temporary stream of fire, only to cool down again. Players have attributed this to loss of energy and focus.
"We were very inconsistent," said Coach Mayer.
The Corsairs season started and ended in a loss, but Coach Mayer felt his team was competitive in conference and had many great moments throughout the year such as beating conference champs Long Beach. However, the inconsistency is apparent when considering that the Corsairs also lost 4-6 to Moorpark, a team that finished in the bottom of the standings.
"It was a little frustrating in that sense," said Mayer who often observed the potential for a win slip through the team's fingers on games they lost.
Mayer, who is in his fourth year as men's volleyball coach, has had great success in the past leading the team to the state semi-finals in 2008 and 2009 as well as a Coach of the Year award in 2008.
But no matter what his players bring to the table, Coach Mayer has always believed in his team, and their future opportunities.
"I think the best part about coaching is just seeing your progress," said Mayer. "Maybe you start with a group of guys who aren't very good, but seeing how good they become, and whether or not they are good enough to beat anybody shouldn't matter too much, it should just be more getting them as close to their potential as possible."
Coach Mayer said this season he has mainly observed individual progress, as opposed to progress as a unit. One of the players mentioned, was sophomore team captain Lance Kinningham, who after his third year will be moving on to pursue a career in sports medicine.
"He saw what I was lacking last year and tried to help me get rid of those bad habits which made me a better player," said Kinningham, "After he told me what I was doing wrong I worked on everything he taught me and brought it to the game."
Moving forward, the fans can expect almost an entirely new team next season. "Most of our starting line up were sophomores, so they're moving on," said Mayer.
Two players who will be returning are freshman middle blocker Zach Brown and freshman outside hitter Fabio Calesso.
When asked what his hopes for the next season are, Mayer doesn't keep low expectations. "Every year our goal is to win the state championship; that's a great start," said Mayer.