When people talk about history repeating itself, they almost universally mean that the repetition of events similar to those that occurred in the past is something to be avoided at all costs; that it would somehow be a bad thing.
As a prominent lawyer once said, "History repeats itself. That's one of the things that's wrong with history."
In Ashley Lund's case, however, it would be a blessing.
The Jamestown Community College women’s volleyball team opens its season in a tournament at Butler County CC on Saturday. The team members are, in front from left, Alysha Lopiano, Kali Beardsley, Kristy Durstine and Anna Nietupski. In back are head coach Ashley Lund, Kelsey Kyser, Brittany Brace, Christina Rauh, Aricca Lis and assistant coach Lauren Beichner.
P-J photo by Jim Riggs
In her three years as the head women's volleyball coach at Jamestown Community College, only once has she carried just eight players on a roster. But in that year, her first to be exact, Lund led her Jayhawks to the 2009 NJCAA Region 3 Division III tournament final.
And, not coincidentally, it was also the year she was named the Western New York Athletic Conference coach of the year.
Lund is hoping 2012 will be 2009 all over again.
"It would be nice," she said. "It's certainly possible. We have the talent."
After a year away from coaching - she sat out this past season after giving birth to her second child - Lund is fresh and ready to lead JCC back to volleyball prominence.
But with eight players - just three of which are returnees - it won't be easy.
"It's not ideal, 10 is ideal," she explained. "Eight is scary because with one injury you're already down to just one substitute. It also doesn't give anyone much rest, which is tough during tournaments when you're playing five matches in one day."
As she learned in 2009, however, the small size of the squad has other benefits.
"I like who we have out on the floor," she said. "(The size of the team) makes for a much tighter group. They know that they're in it together."
Leading the way as both coach and team adjust to one another are the three sophomores from last year's squad that, under the last-minute guidance of interim coach Chris Johnson, reached the regionals before being eliminated following the pool play portion of the tournament.
That group includes Kristy Durstine (Southwestern), Kelsey Kyser (Westfield) and Brittany Brace (Jamestown). The fourth sophomore on the squad, Cassadaga Valley's Anna Nietupski, is in her first season with the team, but has joined the three veterans in providing leadership.
"Everyone's learning a whole new coaching scheme," Lund said, "but the sophomores have really taken charge and shown the others what they need to do and what is expected of them."
While half the team is made up of sophomores, the other half are new to college volleyball. Among them are freshmen Aricca Lis (Fredonia), Alysha Lopiano (Jamestown), Kali Beardsley (Wellsville) and Christina Rauh (Panama).
Rauh led the Lady Panthers to a perfect 12-0 league record and a Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association Division 4 title last season.
"She can do it all," Lund said of the freshman. "She'll do things out there that will surprise you."
Lund got her first look at the team, and how the pieces fit together, on Monday evening during an informal scrimmage. She'll get one more look at the group on Thursday for a scrimmage with the University of Pittsburgh-Bradford and then it's off to the Butler County CC Tournament on Saturday to open the season.
"It was kind of a mix-and-match scrimmage," Lund said. "It was very pleasing. There was a lot of good stuff, but there were also some things that need to be worked on. Overall, though, for this being our first 6-on-6 match, I thought it was a very good result. They hustled, worked together and communicated well."
All crucial elements for a small group that will play just three matches within the friendly confines of the Physical Education Complex at JCC.
Lund, however, isn't worried.
"I'm not nervous (about the road matches)," she said. "I actually like playing away because there are not as many distractions for the girls. The schedule isn't scary to me. We'll be traveling a lot and that's always hard, but I think it will be another thing that makes us strong as a team."
The most important matches of the season will be the POD tournaments, which will be held five times over the course of the season. Whereas these tournaments used to be a jumble of both region and non-region foes, as of last year each of the tournament match counts towards the final regional standings.
The first such POD tournament will be on Sept. 5 at Herkimer County CC.
For now, however, Lund is focused on readying the team for, given its size, a grueling season and also enjoying her time back on the court.
"A year away from volleyball seemed like a lot longer than just a year," said the former JCC volleyball player with a laugh. "It's nice to be back because volleyball has been such a big part of my life."