Sept. 26, 2007
Atlantic 10 Volleyball
Throughout the season, the #16 Dayton Flyer volleyball team has won because of solid defensive performances. At a time when many players would just begin to crack the lineup sophomore Chelsy Christoff has become a key member of a UD defense that looks to extend its winning ways this weekend as the Flyers will face Rhode Island on Friday (7 p.m. ET) and Fordham on Saturday (4 p.m. ET).
Christoff, a sophomore from La Grange Park, IL, has started all 15 matches this season for Dayton and is fourth on the team in digs (2.13 dpg) despite seeing less time on the court than the three players in front of her as a defensive specialist. She has also developed herself into one of UD's most dependable serve receivers.
"This summer I put a lot of time into becoming a better serve receiver," Christoff said. "Now I am much more confident during games that I am going to be able to pass the ball well enough so that the offense can run more efficiently. I have gained a lot more confidence in my ability since my freshman year."
Christoff has allowed just 13 service aces in 235 reception attempts for a .945 reception percentage this season opposed to .917 mark as a freshman.
However, Christoff is relied upon not just to receive serve but to attack the opposition with quality serves of her own. Entering the weekend she is second on the team with 23 service aces this season after recording just 11 all of last year.
"I focus on serving to the zone that coach is calling for and how I am going to make the other team pass the ball out of system," Christoff said. "I try to block out all of the distractions in the gym and focus on just my technique. When you serve the ball tough it makes it easier to know what the other team is going to do and makes it easier to play defense."
It is also a lot easier to play defense when you are in a routine. Part of Christoff's pregame routine is selecting headband to put in her hair before every match - a part of her routine that started well before she came to UD.
"I started wearing headbands my freshman year in high school when my hair was too short to fit completely into a pony tail," Christoff recalled. "My sister told me that I should wear a headband so that I didn't have hair in my face while I played and ever since then I have worn one because I feel incomplete without it."
At every match since she came to Dayton, Christoff has put on either a red, white or blue headband before heading out to the court.
"It is a rule that during games my headband is red, white or blue but it's not important which one of those colors it is," Christoff said. "There was one day that I didn't wear a headband and everyone asked me where it was. My headband is not good luck; it's just more of a tradition."
Dayton looks to continue its winning tradition this weekend with matches at Rhode Island on Friday and Fordham on Saturday. The Friday match can be followed with Gametracker and Saturday's match will have live stats at www.DaytonFlyers.com.