Volleyball looks to improve from rocky start to season

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The first two weekends of the women’s volleyball season consisted of two intense, two-day tournaments at Hillsdale College and the UIndy Invitational.

On Friday, Sept. 1st, the team played its season opener against Findlay, falling with a final score of 0-3. They later rallied a victory against Glenville State with a final score of 3-0 to end the day.

On Sept. 8th and 9th, the ladies played Indianapolis, Winona St., Clarion, and Davenport at the University of Indianapolis Invitational and fell to all four teams.

During the first day’s games, players such as sophomore outside hitter Sarah Tabit earned 11 kills, setting a new personal career high.

Head coach Will Stanton also commented on some highlights from other rookie players throughout the tournament.

“We showed some very good improvement in several areas, and we had a strong showing from our freshman middle hitter Haley Clum and our redshirt freshman rightside hitter Emily Friesl,” Stanton said.

The team rained down on the Glenville State Pioneers during the second game of the Hillsdale College tournament with incredible defense from Clum with seven blocks, and another record high set by sophomore setter Hannah Tabit with 30 assists. Glenville State did not lose the lead without a fight, and this game proved to be an arduous back-and-forth battle between the Cardinals and the Pioneers.

“We had some results and stats to use as a basis for decision making, so we were able to get some other players some opportunities on Sept. 2 that didn’t get to play on the first day,” Stanton said. “They showed us some good things, so our results from day one gave us the initiative to try other players to see what they could do.”

The second day of the tournament, the Cardinals were pitted against the Indianapolis Greyhound and the tournament host, the Hillsdale Chargers. Both games of the day, the women fell with match scores of 3-0.

The Greyhounds managed a victory, but not without a battle from the Cardinals. The first set, the Greyhounds pulled ahead, but the second and third sets were back and forth fights, finally ending with the Greyhounds edging out a victory.

Game two against the Chargers was equally taxing on the Cardinals. The game started fairly evenly until the Chargers edged out, gaining points on the Cardinals in sets two and three, ultimately resulting in another loss for SVSU that day.

“We are just trying to chip away at the things that are costing us points and keeping us from being successful,” said Stanton. “We have some strengths, and we are learning what those are, but we are working to plug some holes so that our strengths can win games for us.”

“We had a huge week of mental practices, and physical of course, to help us for this week’s competitions,” said sophomore team captain and middle hitter Rachel Eisenhour. “Since we realized that we need to improve quickly, that called for tougher, incentive-driven practices.”

The UIndy competition was taxing on the ladies and resulted in some tough losses throughout the weekend.UIndy was strong from the start of the game, and the ladies just could not keep up. In the second set of the game, the Cardinals were able to only earn back-to-back points a single time.

The second game of the UIndy Invitational against Winona State resulted in a 3-0 loss. WSU took the lead for all three sets with strong, multiple-point runs throughout the match. Senior and defensive specialist Emily Nieman earned “player of the match” with a season-best 26 kills during the game.

The last day of the UIndy Invitational resulted in two lost matches for SVSU. Game one of the second day against Clarion resulted in a final match score of 3-0. Clarion came out the gate strong, but Saginaw Valley challenged them with a tie for the first set. It was yet another strong back-and-forth fight for SVSU. By the end of the game, SV out-scored Clarion in overall blocks and service aces.

In the final game of the UIndy Invitational, the Cardinals fell to Davenport with a final match score of 3-1. In that game, Eisenhour challenged the Davenport offense with a career high of six blocks.

The volleyball team’s next match is Friday, Sept. 15, at Northern Michigan.