Murray State volleyball dropped two matches 3-0 on the road last weekend.
Against Eastern Illinois, the Racers lost the first set 25-11. In the last two sets, Murray State fought hard, but still could not take a lead over the Panthers.
After losing the match to EIU, Murray State went on to play SIUE for the second time this season. In their first game against SIUE at home, the Racers overpowered the Cougars winning 3-1.
In their second match against SIUE, Murray State struggled maintain any lead on the Cougars. The Racers lost all three sets, 25-18, 25-22 and 25-18.
Head Coach David Schwepker said the women made many mistakes due to inexperience.
“The big thing is, we have a lot of young players,” Schwepker said. “They’re trying to learn so much.”
After struggling in the first frame of the EIU match, the Racers pulled together offensively after changes Schwepker made to the lineup. As Schwepker noted earlier in the season, changing the setter periodically can completely change the game.
Senior setter Molly Goodrich was given the chance to change the game offensively.
“Putting Molly in changed everything,” Schwepker said. “We thought she did a really good job. They didn’t pass well for her but she did well. So we started her again on Saturday, she helped out a lot in that third set.”
Freshman outside hitter led kills with 12 for the night. Senior setter Lia Havili had 17 assists while Goodrich had eight. Jodie Klein, freshman libero, had eight digs and sophomore middle blocker Kelsey Van Oss had two block assists.
Schwepker said while their record does not show it, he believes EIU is one of the toughest teams to play in the Ohio Valley Conference.
“Out of all the teams in our conference, EIU is really great,” Schwepker said. “We didn’t block well and let them go, they were absolutely on fire. If we would’ve blocked better we would’ve slowed them down but not by much.”
After the tough loss to EIU, the Racers traveled to Edwardsville determined to defeat the Cougars for a second time. Although the Racers fought through the match, Schwepker said the women were not as dedicated after losing to EIU.
“I think the pressure was too high,” Schwepker said. “They knew they had to win Friday, so I think they went through the motions Saturday. I think everything got to them and the women couldn’t put it together and felt like they let everyone down.”
Freshman outside hitter Emily Schmahl had 11 kills, the highest for the match. Freshman setter Sam Bedard returned after an ankle injury two weeks ago with 22 assists. Defensively, Jodie Klein again led with 18 digs and freshman middle blocker Alyssa Lelm had one solo block and four assisting blocks.
“Friday night, Olden just couldn’t seem to get going,” Schwepker said. “Since she’s a strong offensive player and she was struggling, everyone else struggled.”
After the SIUE match, the Racers fell to a 4-15 regular season record and 2-7 in the OVC. Murray State will face Belmont and Tennessee Tech, for a second time, in Nashville, Tenn. this weekend. The Racers will then travel home to play two of their last four matches at home.
Schwepker said despite the record Murray State has, he has learned a tremendous amount about the women and the potential they have in the future.
Schwepker said: “If you look at our team, I think we’re at the bottom of our learning curve. They haven’t had to play like this before and we’re going to continue working and pushing them. They’ll get better, it’s just hard right now.”
Lexy Gross, Staff Writer