Since 2008 the Racer volleyball team has not managed to take down the Jacksonville State University Gamecocks, and Saturday’s match was no exception.
Even though the first two sets of the match went the Racers’ way, JSU eventually took the match back, ending 11-15 in the fifth set.
In light of the game, Coach David Schwepker was understandably optimistic.
“Actually, I thought we did well,” Schwepker said. “I know where our team is and I know our players and what they’re capable of, so I actually wasn’t frustrated. We played really close to our ability. We got a chance to see Jacksonville State and we went five games with them, and they were close. We’re in the running with Jacksonville State, so in our conference right now, I think we’re OK.”
Teresa Krog, senior middle hitter, also spoke to the clear improvement of the Racer team since last year’s matches against Jacksonville.
“We just focused and came together as a team,” Krog said. “We have a lot more heart this year than it seems like we did in the past. It’s been great to come together like that.”
The Racers will have at least one more chance to beat the Gamecocks later in the season, and, having already come so close, a little improvement may go a long way in that regard.
“I think if we served tougher, if we served a little better, or a little bit harder that would take them out of their element,” Schwepker said. “They wouldn’t be able to run the middle, maybe.”
This week the Racers continue in their conference season, taking on UT-Martin and SIU-Edwardsville. Last year Murray State took both matches from both of their upcoming competitors, but in the OVC the landscape of teams and their abilities is constantly shifting, leaving Schwepker curious about the games to come.
“Every year is different and every year is another team,” Schwepker said. “The bottom line is you never know. Every year we have different personalities and they have different personalities. We just really try to get out every time and do what we can.
“We haven’t seen Martin, and we know they’re doing really well. So right now, Martin might be one of the top teams in the conference. I’m anxious to see them and see where we are with them and that will really help us decide what direction we need to go.”
The Racers took on SIU-E earlier in the season, besting them in four sets. Despite the win neither Krog nor Schwepker would risk underestimating them.
“SIU is a good team; they’re very consistent,” Krog said. “Hopefully if we stay consistent with them we can beat them.”
Schwepker echoed her sentiments.
“We just need to get in and take care of business with them,” he said. “We know who on their team we need to focus on, and that’s what we’ll make sure we do.”