Story by Kelsey Randolph, Sports Editor
Racer volleyball returned home after a tough weekend in Terre Haute, Indiana with another sweep at the Holiday Inn Classic, which set its record 7-1.
Beginning their weekend against Indiana University-Purdue University in Fort Wayne, the opening scores for the weekend stood at 25-14, 25-17 and 25-19.
The Racers recorded a 72 percent sideout, or a 72 percent success, when the Racers received and went on the win the point while the Mastodons only recorded a 47 percent success.
Setting the tone for the next day the Racers took on Eastern Michigan and proved to not let their focus get lost. The scores were set 25-16, 25-19, 26-28, 18-25 and 15-13.
“The second day was a little bit of a struggle,” said senior setter Sam Bedard. “But with better competition because it prepares us for OVC and conference play. Everyone in our conference is so tough, so I feel like it prepares us for what is to come.”
After battling a tough game against the Eagles, the Racers came back against Indiana State and didn’t let their early morning affect the afternoon sweep, 25-20, 26-24 and 27-25.
Setting the bar for the weekend was Bedard, who was the OVC Setter of the Week and led the team in a team high 21 digs against Eastern Michigan.
In addition to Bedard’s digs, junior outside hitter, Scottie Ingram offensively added a season-best 21 kills and 11 digs, her second double-double of the season. Redshirt junior right side Kristen Besselsen added a career-high 14 digs.
Bedard equates her success to the tournament-style practices Schwepker is pushing this year. The team plays its own version of a game tournament and based on each player’s accuracy percentage, the team is chosen for the following weekend. Bedard said because the team is strong this season and nobody left, there is only a 10 percent difference from the first place to the last place.
“We started that almost two years ago and since everyone came back so strong this year it just more serious,” Bedard said. “That’s tough so you can’t have a bad day you have to come in strong every practice. You can lose your starting position right away and you can’t bring in anything that made you mad the day before or even before practice.”
Schwepker is looked up at by the players for this style of coaching—standing off court allowing the players to correct their own mistakes. He said this is how the team learns to improve and work fluently together.
“The thing about it is the team saw some people step up and they went after it instead of backing away and that’s what I want to see,” Schwepker said. “They have to earn it. They went hard that fifth set against Eastern Michigan— it was a battle. They pushed us and we can’t lose on that part, we have to be mentally tough. A team can be better than us, if they beat us then they are better than us, but one thing I don’t want to be is mentally weaker than them.”
The Racers travel to Rock Hill, South Carolina to participate in the Winthrop Invitational facing Davidson College on Friday and Winthrop and Western Virginia on Saturday. The Racers’ OVC season begins Sept. 25 against Southeast Missouri State.
“We are excited to play West Virginia,” Bedard said. “If we beat them then it’s another pat on the back.”