Women's volleyball's tough transition to Division 2

The Westminster Women's Volleyball team has had a difficult time with the college's transition from NAIA to Division 2 NCAA Sports. Photos by Luke Sonne

The Westminster Women's Volleyball team has had a difficult time with the college's transition from NAIA to Division 2 NCAA Sports. Photos by Luke Sonne

“Hardworking, passionate and excellent students.” Those were just a few words said by Al Givens, the head coach of the women’s volleyball team, when discussing his team.

Givens is in his second season at Westminster College, but he is not a rookie when it comes to coaching collegiate volleyball.

Givens started his collegiate coaching career at Arizona Western College then moved on to the University of Mississippi, Texas A&M and Ole Miss.

Givens finally found a home at Weber State and was the coach there for 18 years. After coaching for several years in collegiate volleyball, he is now coaching at Westminster College during a time of uncertainty and adjustment.

The women's volleyball team huddles up with the college's mascot to strategize for their game.

The women's volleyball team huddles up with the college's mascot to strategize for their game.

Westminster College athletics have now made the transformation from NAIA to Division 2 NCAA sports, which has been a tough transition.

It has been especially tough for the women’s volleyball team.

“The RMAC, in volleyball, is one top volleyball conferences in Division 2,” Givens said.

Last year, five women’s volleyball teams from the RMAC made the Division 2 National Playoffs. The RMAC is a tough conference and might be especially tough for the women’s volleyball team.

Givens expresses a lot of confidence in his players, saying they’re “hardworking, passionate and excellent students.”

The team showed that on Tuesday, Sept. 22.

Westminster beat Colorado Mesa, 3–1, on campus. This win over Colorado Mesa, a team that made it to the Elite 8 last season, represents a lot more to the team and its coach.

“The match on Tuesday instills a sense of confidence, but also a sense that we belong and that we can compete with the best teams in this conference,” Givens said.

The Westminster Volleyball team has been working hard and put their skills in action at a recent home game in the Behnken Field House.

The Westminster Volleyball team has been working hard and put their skills in action at a recent home game in the Behnken Field House.

Givens is correct that a win over a top team in that RMAC and a team that played in the Elite 8 last year can build confidence in a team, especially in one that has just moved up to Division 2.

But confidence is not going to win them every game. The Griffins need some consistency, and their game on Friday, Sept. 25 showed their lack of it.

Yes, the women’s volleyball team played hard and with a lot of effort but, unfortunately, effort does not always win games.

Givens said after their game against Regis that they “beat us in every facet of the game tonight,” citing poor performance in serving, defense, passing and their offense at the net.

Despite the poor performance against Regis and the tough transformation to the RMAC, Westminster women’s volleyball team is only going to get better, thanks to the amazing and dedicated women that are on the team with an experienced coach.


The women’s volleyball team is currently 4-8 and will be playing Western New Mexico on Friday, Oct. 2 at 7 p.m.