Just hours after filling Roy Stewart Stadium, Murray State fans packed the stands of Racer Arena, transforming one of the oldest buildings on campus into a sounding board for the roar that follows wins and painful losses alike.
Last weekend the Racer volleyball team suffered a loss at the hands of Morehead State University, defeated Eastern Kentucky University and simultaneously raised funds for the Regional Cancer Center via Swinging to Eliminate Cancer, the keyword for all of which seemed to have been intensity. So while the Racers may not have come out with two wins, they certainly proved to their fans and themselves they are capable.
“Last night we played really hard, and lots of times when you play a team that’s just so much better than you, you go play hard because you have nothing to lose and that’s what we did,” Head Coach David Schwepker said. “Then the game was really dramatic – all three sets were really close. So what we tried to get at is that you always go out and play as hard as you can, because if you do, and you’re better than that team, you’ll beat them. There’s no need to worry. I just wanted to see them play that hard two nights in a row and they did, and we ended up with a win.”
Despite Friday’s loss, Schwepker said the match built on the team’s morale, showing that despite Morehead’s ranking, the Eagles are not out of reach.
“It’s great for them, because they can see they do play hard, and Morehead, I thought, played well,” Schwepker said. “Morehead didn’t make stupid mistakes, they didn’t do all kinds of crazy things, they played hard and so I was glad to see that when we play hard, we play with them. They are better than us right now, but what we’ve got to learn to do is play hard, because you never know what could happen.”
In fact, Schwepker said last weekend’s matches will help see his team through this weekend’s matches against Tennessee Tech and Jacksonville State universities.
“Honestly, I think if we would have lost tonight we would probably just go and lose two nights in a row,” Schwepker said. “But I think with what happened (last weekend) we’ll really go after them.”
The team looks to face the Gamecocks, whom the Racers took to five sets only to fall to them 11-15 in the final set last season.
“I think last time we played them we played pretty well,” Schwepker said. “I think if we play with intensity we’ll see something different. They’ve got some tough girls. They have one girl who can literally hit over the block, so you can’t stop her. But it’s the rest of the team we’ve got to go after. We just have to go after them.”
However, Swinging to Eliminate Cancer was slightly less than what Schwepker and his Racers hoped.
“I think it might be a down year,” Schwepker said. “I really feel like people are somewhat gived-out. I think the pink cause has a lot to do with it, not that it’s not a great cause, but that people have probably already given for that.”
However, the team is accepting donations through the end of this week and may still meet their goal of $3,000 with the help of the community and their fans.
For their next home game, the Racers face off against South Eastern Missouri at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in Racer Arena.