Story by Kelsey Randolph, Sports Editor
After a record breaking 16 straight wins for the volleyball team, the Racers lost against the Eastern Illinois Panthers last Saturday in a close five sets.
Before taking on the Panthers, the Racers were tested in a four-set victory against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Friday.
Leading the weekend against the Cougars with 18 kills was senior outside hitter and right side, Taylor Olden followed by junior outside hitter, Scottie Ingram with 12 kills. Senior setter Sam Bedard took the team high with 19 digs and 45 assists.
Head Coach David Schwepker said the team was thrown off by the four-set win as opposed to the team’s usual three-set sweep. Entering Saturday’s game against the Panthers the Racers took a close five-set loss for their first loss in conference play.
“Honestly, I just think that they played really well and we had an off weekend,” Schwepker said. “We had 42 hitting errors and we never do that. We’ll go through two or three practices and not hit that many hitting errors.”
The beginning of the Racers’ loss came in the first set loss 21-25 and the notable 16-match streak was broken.
Leading the team against SIUE was Ingram with 19 kills and a .32 hitting percentage with Olden behind making 19 kills as well. Bedard also lead the team with 63 assists and 15 digs. Bedard joined the 1,000-dig club, the 17th Racer to make the board.
Despite a close loss against the Panthers, Schwepker said the team is practicing harder and focusing on the next week to come. The Racers still have the No. 1 spot in the OVC with Eastern Illinois and Belmont tying for second in conference play.
“We’re back in here working like we always do,” Schwepker said. “And there’s not a big crazy change that we are looking at and we’re just getting back in and we’re going to keep on working.”
Traveling again Friday, the Racers face Jacksonville State, 2-8, at 7 p.m. on Friday in Jacksonville, Florida. Finishing the weekend the Racers will take on Tennessee Tech, 3-7, at 7 p.m. in Clarksville, Tennessee.
After traveling for the weekend, the Racers return home for two of the last four games in regular season play.