After losing to Eastern Illinois then defeating SIU Edwardsville last week, the volleyball team improved its conference record to 3-7.
Sophomore setter Sam Bedard said the loss proved the Racers needed to work on team unity.
“We did not play as a team,” Bedard said. “I think if we would have been there as a team, we could have pulled out the win.”
Head Coach David Schwepker agreed with Bedard, adding that bad passes and hitting errors contributed to the loss.
However, the game against SIUE was much different than the game against Eastern Illinois. Not only did the Racers win, but they swept SIUE in three sets, an outcome very different from the last time the two faced off.
Schwepker said the team played with confidence against SIUE, a quality the team has been lacking the last few games.
“I’ve had faith in them this whole time knowing that they definitely have the ability to be very good,” Schwepker said. “When they get out there and play with that confidence, they have the ability to win.”
The Racers’ lack of confidence may be the result of losing lone senior and team captain Katlyn Hudson.
Hudson is currently on a leave of absence due to a concussion.
Bedard said the atmosphere on the floor has changed since Hudson’s absence, but the team is making adjustments.
“(Hudson’s) a leader out there,” Bedard said. “She’s a great player. It has changed a little bit, but a couple girls, including myself, have tried to take that leadership role and have done a great job with it.”
With the season nearing an end, the OVC tournament is approaching quickly.
Although the Racers have three wins under their belts in conference play, Schwepker said it is still possible for the team to make the tournament.
“We’ve just got to win a bunch of matches,” Schwepker said. “I think if we could end up with a 7-7 record, we could get into the tournament.”
Like Schwepker, Bedard said making the OVC tournament is a huge goal for her since the Racers did not make it to the tournament last year.
“I would like to experience that,” Bedard said. “I’m sure everyone else on my team would like to have that feeling too – of being in conference, maybe even winning conference and then experiencing the NCAA tournament. That’s every college player’s dream.”
Next on the schedule for the Racers are conference opponents Tennessee State and Belmont, two teams the women have yet to face this season.
Schwepker said the only way the Racers can prepare for the next two games is to focus on improving themselves and staying confident.
The Racers will play in Racer Arena tonight at 7 p.m. against Tennessee State and Saturday at 2 p.m. against Belmont.
Story by Taylor Crum, Staff Writer