The volleyball team dropped to a conference record of 3-9 after losing to both Tennessee State and Belmont last weekend.
Head Coach David Schwepker said there was a pattern in the Racers’ game play. He said the girls played competitively in the first set of both matches against Tennessee State and Belmont, but had trouble upholding that competitiveness throughout the next two sets.
“We had a chance to win a couple times,” Schwepker said. “Once again, it’s just our inexperience not being able to keep that level of competitiveness for that long.”
Alyssa Lelm, sophomore middle blocker, said she thinks the team could improve in one specific area.
“I feel like our confidence needs to build,” Lelm said. “I know we lack experience, but I don’t feel like that’s an excuse.”
With senior captain Katlyn Hudson still out with a concussion, Lelm said she thinks the team’s lack of confidence is a result of Hudson’s absence.
“We don’t have a true leader on the court,” Lelm said. “I mean, our team has stepped up a lot without her, but it’s definitely a change.”
However, Lelm said things might be looking up for the Racers.
Hudson practiced with the team this week, and is hoping that she will return to the floor this weekend.
With the two losses last weekend, Schwepker said his team thought they were out of a shot for the OVC tournament. Fortunately, Schwepker said the team will get a second chance, something that doesn’t come along often.
The OVC tournament is still within reach for the Racers as a few conference foes also lost last week. All the women have to do is win the next four matches.
Lelm said the Racers’ trailing record means nothing.
“I think we have the potential to go to the OVC tournament and do something even though we’re kind of the underdogs right now,” Lelm said.
Despite the losing record, Schwepker said the Racers are refusing to give up.
“We’re working hard,” he said. “We try to not to look back. We’re still going full-speed ahead. If we don’t pull it off, they’re going to be that much better for next year.”
One thing that may help the Racers the remainder of the season is Schwepker’s way with words.
Lelm said Schwepker pumps up her and the rest of the team before every game by being inspirational and funny at the same time.
Next on the schedule, the Racers will be on the road traveling to conference opponents Southeast Missouri State and UT Martin. The game against SEMO will begin at 6:30 p.m. tonight followed by the match at 2 p.m. Saturday against UT Martin.
The Racers beat UT Martin this season already, but lost their match against SEMO.
Said Schwepker: “Can we beat them? Of course, I think we can, but it’s going to be tough.”
Story by Taylor Crum, Staff writer