June 19 , 2006
By Sharon Ocker
Sandy Winter 1981 remembers that the volleyball team was losing, but taking the losses in stride. Coach Peter Berry announced before a match that the ladies should spend some time in the locker room to get “serious” about their effort. After about five minutes of quiet, they began to talk and wondered what else they could do before going out on the court. One of the players said that she needed a haircut, so someone took the training scissors and started cutting. After a while, the coach yelled that it was time to come out with “serious game faces.” He was happy that they focused for so long. There was only one problem: the player had only half a haircut, long hair on one side and short on the other. At halftime, after the coach finished his pep talk and left the locker room, the haircut was finally finished.
Winter also recalls an incident on a softball trip. Some of the freshmen players took Easter candy and colored their lips blue, orange, and yellow and then went to bed. They didn’t realize that once it dried, it wouldn’t come off for days. What a sight that must have been.
Nita Edlund 1959 was a very positive person. At times, the players would ask her to get mean and yell at them to pump them up. She was not like that; she felt women should be treated positively and with respect. She felt yelling was a sign of losing control.
One time the first team was playing poorly in a volleyball match at Buena Vista. After the first game, Edlund took them to the dressing room and told the first team to stay there and that when they decided to play as a team, they should come back upstairs. “Meanwhile," she said, "I’m taking the junior varsity team up to finish the game.” That had a dramatic effect.
Cindy Tudehope, who coached women’s basketball from 1991 through 1996, recalls that to win in the North Central Conference (NCC), you had to have an effective post player. That player for Tudehope was Shawna Paskert 1993, who was all-conference for two seasons, averaging 15.7 points and 9.7 rebounds per game and playing great defense. The ladies had their best-ever NCC finish in 1992-93 with an 18-9 overall record and a fourth place finish in a conference so strong that more often than not, one of its members won the NCAA Division II National Tournament.
Rebounding is a lot more than jumping, although that is a key factor. The leading rebounder over the years for Morningside was Trish Martin, who was the nation’s leading rebounder in 2000-01 with an average of 13.1 per game. She collected a fantastic 25 caroms in one game against St. Cloud State alone. Martin, however, was not a jumper and was not very tall. She did it with savvy, strength, and determination, and was remindful of Larry Bird, the Boston Celtics great who couldn’t jump much either. One of the best leapers for Morningside was Lerlean Johnson 1984, who played for Bud Brockman.
Maternity did not stop the volleyball coaches from their duties. Joan McDermott had several babies while she was coaching. Kelli Tuttle 1985 remembers that her coach, Patti Hesse 1978, brought her child to practice in a carry all, and the players would rotate in their drills and give the carry all a little push to keep it rocking and happy. It was a good experience to see how a mother could mix work with parenting.