POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. – The Marist volleyball team hit the courts this offseason to prepare for next year with the hopes of contending for the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Championships again.

“The biggest thing I told the group heading into the spring is that we don’t need to make a ton of wholesale changes,” said Head Coach Tom Hanna. “Our biggest focus was to fine tune individual performances and to develop the underclassmen since we had an older group that played in the fall.”

As a rare occurrence this season, the team returned 10 players in the offseason for spring practices, whereas the group typically only has a handful of athletes to work with due to seniors graduating, students going abroad, and any necessary postseason surgeries.

“It was nice, the team got to do full attacking and blocking and play with a full court,” said Hanna. “It was different to have that many, which was a great thing.”

With a bigger group this spring, the Red Foxes were able to compete in a tournament to get back into action. Marist split its scrimmages against Albany and Dartmouth, and beat St. Rose 2-0 in their first live play since the fall.

“After seeing what the group did this spring, I am excited about their development,” Hanna said.  “We were able to give our freshmen a lot more contact on the court, where they weren’t able to see as much in the fall with the older group we had.”

As the students head home for summer, Hanna and the Red Foxes look forward to their return for preseason in August and what is ahead for the 2014 season.

“I’m hoping everyone comes back physically prepared come August,” he said. “We want to pick up where we left off. We have 13 athletes returning, so we just want to hit the ground running in the preseason and keep going from there. We have an experienced group coming back and we’re going to rely on that to find our success next season.”