With the fast approaching end of the conference season and the Racers conference record (6-8) hanging like fog in Racer Arena, the Racers took down South East Missouri State in three sets on Tuesday night after falling to the Redhawks in five sets early this season.
“Again, this is what this team can do, and any time they actually play like it I’m happy and we’re just going to keep going forward from here,” Head Coach David Schwepker said. “I’m excited. They’re really pumped and ready to go.”
With increasing surety, the Racers won three consecutive sets, with the final set falling 25-14.
“In the first set both teams were playing great,” Schwepker said. “We were struggling with keeping that momentum going, and I thought that SEMO was going to keep it going all the way through, and that we might back away, but the girls didn’t. By not backing away they ended up winning the first set, made the second set easier, and by that third set we just had them.”
The win comes on the heels of a weekend the entire team admits was a disappointment, with losses to both Tennessee Tech and Jacksonville State universities when the team’s appearance in the conference tournament is far from certain.
“They had a big team meeting on Sunday and talked about some things and changed some stuff up. I think everybody felt really relieved after this match,”?Schwepker said. “They were very upset after this weekend. It was a bad weekend for us and they knew they kind of blew up this weekend, so this was great for us.”
Kayleah Sauer, senior libero, could not agree more.
“Our mentality has definitely changed,” Sauer said. “We have the ability to be really good but sometimes we just can’t stay focused and tonight we definitely stayed focused and played as a team.”
Murray State takes on UT Martin today, a team they hasve fallen to in four games earlier this month.
“Martin’s in second place, but I’ll tell you what; we’re just going to go at them,” Schwepker said. “Last time they ran their middles and they had an outside hitter who just swung away and we could not contain her at all. Our blocking was bad and she could just go at it, and it killed us. We’ll see how we do against their team and her in particular on Friday. They’re a really good team, they haven’t always been, but they are now, but we’ll see what we could do.”
Regardless, wins are an absolute necessity for the Racers, given only six matches remain in the season, and Murray State is riding the fence between making the OVC Tournament and not.
“Right now we’re on the brink of not getting in,” Schwepker said. “It’s still in our control that we can get in, and I like that, so every win means the world, but we have some tough teams coming up.”
However Schwepker’s team seems confident that its recent upturn will not end after only one win.
“After this past weekend we had a couple of talks and tonight showed us definitely playing as a different team, so UT Martin better be ready for us,” Sauer said.
The Racers will take on UT Martin at 7 p.m. today in Racer Arena.