Mat Mikesell

While most people are at the lake or relaxing during the summer, women's volleyball coach Steve Shondell is recruiting and working towards his second season at Ball State.

The weekends are usually reserved for downtime from work. To Shondell, the weekends are when he is at his busiest.

"I'm in the office most of the summer," Shondell said. "I've been on some weekend trips to Chicago for recruiting. More of my weekends during the summer have been recruiting, making preparations for summer camp."

Shondell said he also does basic office work that consists of ordering equipment and jerseys for this fall.

Beginning July 8, Shondell will be recruiting even more when Ball State holds the Position and General Camp July 8 through July 10. The following week Ball State hosts a team camp where entire high school teams come to practice.

"Teams will come from anywhere," Shondell said. "This year we've got from schools from Indiana, Ohio and Michigan."

But he does make room for some personal time. The last week of July he has planned a family vacation - his only real vacation of the summer.

When he isn't recruiting or in his office, Shondell said he spends his free time watching the Chicago Cubs, though he wasn't always a Cubs fan.

"I grew up a Reds fan," he said. "As I got older I started becoming a Chicago White Sox fan because of Harry Caray. But when he moved to WGN in the early ‘80s I became a Cubs fan."

Shondell said following the Cubs this season has been a struggle, as the Cubs sit fifth in the National League Central Division with a 35-52 record as of July 5.

Even after a disappointing end to the 2010 season, Shondell said he is ready for the 2011 campaign.

"It put a damper on a fantastic season," Shondell said. "It was a tough way to finish the year after winning the conference by two games. You don't forget the losses. We have a lot of players returning and lots of good players coming in. We just have to learn from it and gain experience."

He said the Mid-American Conference Tournament loss to Toledo could have been a result from a lack of experience from the entire team.

"We were all experiencing that environment for the first time," he said. "We basically had freshman coaches and freshman players. This year we will be a lot more prepared and a lot more comfortable.

He also said he believes Toledo is one of many very capable teams that could win the conference this season.

"Our division in the MAC will be better this year," Shondell said. "All the teams have their entire rosters back. I hope the fans come out and enjoy what they see because the division will be very competitive this year."

The biggest concern his team will have this season is the void left by former libero Alyssa Rio.

"We have two key defensive players from last year," Shondell said. "One of them will fill that position. Catie Fredrich played libero for us in the spring. We also have Kaylee Schembra who we are considering for that position."

As for Fredrich, Shondell had some very high praise for her, saying she could be one of the all-time greats to play Ball State volleyball.