BOZEMAN — It’s been a whirlwind of a week for the Montana State volleyball program with the sudden absence of head coach Daniel Jones.
Coach Jones stepped away due to undisclosed personal reasons but six-year associate head coach, Cole Aiazzi, was quickly named his replacement entering his first ever head coaching position.
However, Aiazzi steps into a perfect situation having already established a long-standing trust with the players who he helped recruit.
“I literally have watched most of them play since their freshman year of high school at this point and now that they're here and I think there's a lot of trust built between me and them,” Aiazzi said.
“I always joke that we're just Cole’s kids here because he brought all of us,” Helena native sophomore setter Audrey Hofer added. “I think having Cole step into that role has been really easy for all of us to adjust to just because we have that respect and that comfortability with him.”
The trust was evident in Aiazzi’s first game at the helm when they upset the reigning Mountain West Conference champs, Boise State on Sept. 15 at home in Shroyer gym three sets to two.
“I think if you were in the gym that night, you felt a lot of good energy and again, for just the adversity that we faced, I thought they showed up and we played really good,” Aiazzi explained.
With the big win over Boise state and flashes of brilliance against 18th ranked University of Washington last Friday, the team is looking ahead to their first Big Sky Conference game Sept. 22 at home against Eastern Washington University where despite the up and down last week, the goals and expectations remain the same.
For Hofer, it’s’ simple: “Moving forward, same goals always win the Big Sky Conference, win the Big Sky Tournament, go to NCAA’s.”