The University of Indianapolis’ volleyball team lost to Rockhurst University on Saturday, after pulling out a win over William Jewell College the night before on senior night.
The 24th nationally-ranked Hawks defeated the Hounds in three sets. In the first, only three Hounds scored, while Rockhurst totaled a .353 hitting percentage with one error, ending the match 25-11.
In the second match, the Hounds kept the match even until both teams were tied at 20. Junior outside hitter Kacee Salyers led the set with six kills, before the Hawks scored the last five points of the match.
UIndy pulled together 15 kills in the final set against the Hawks. After a short rally by UIndy in the final minutes of the game, Rockhurst pulled together the final points, defeating the hounds 25-22 and taking the victory.
Head volleyball coach Jason Reed said that he feels the team has promise for the rest of the season, and the players just need a confidence boost to get them back on track.
“We still have a good couple of weeks here rolling into the conference tournament. It’s not broken. What we’re doing here is working. We just need to get back to where everyone’s contributing, everyone’s doing their job at a high level.”
On Friday, the women broke their three game losing streak with a win against the William Jewell Cardinals. Before the game, senior outside hitter Becca Lira and senior middle blocker Shelby Ruffner were honored during a senior night celebration.
The Hounds shut out William Jewell in the first set of the game, holding the Cardinals to a negative hitting percentage and ending with a score of 25-16. The next three matches went back and forth between UIndy and William Jewell, which sent them into the fifth match.
To finish out the game, the Hounds pulled together a 5-1 run, moving the score to 11-10 and later getting the win in an error on Cardinals.
Previously in the week, the Hounds traveled to Wheeling, W.Va. to battle the 5th ranked Wheeling Jesuit Cardinals, but fell to them in three quick matches.
The team came into the game after losing in three close matches to Quincy a few days earlier, a school they won against earlier last year.
In the first set against the Cardinals, the Hounds kept the score close. Lira and Ruffner worked together to rack up a combined 16 kills. Lira totalled a three kill streak at the end of the match to bring the score to 23-22 in favor of Wheeling Jesuit. The Cardinals pulled out the last two points to take the match.
UIndy lost the next two matches as well, with scores of 25-16 and 25-14. Lira finished the game with 14 kills, just ahead of Ruffner with 11 kills.
Reed said he believes that the teams’ fall is due to a lack of confidence.
“Well, I think in those two matches, for whatever reason, we lost some confidence,” Reed said. “In that run we kind of had everybody doing their job really well at a high level and consistency wise everyone was really contributing well.’”
“We’re going to have to have a really determined mindset,” said Ruffner. “We’re going to have to have a positive mindset. Volleyball is a game of errors. So if we make errors, we can’t get down on ourselves, because the other team’s going to make errors, the other team’s going to score their points, [and] we’re going to score ours. We just have to play our game of volleyball. We can’t play down to another level. We just have to stay consistent as a team.”
Looking forward, Ruffner believes the players need a strong mindset and cooperation for the team to get back on it’s feet.
Reed said he has no doubt that these women are capable of competing on a high level and thinks it is just a matter of them believing it themselves.
“I think we need to remind the girls that we are still a very talented, good volleyball team. Just because you take a loss here and there doesn’t mean that you’re bad. And just because you win doesn’t mean you’re good, either. But at the end of the day, [and] we’ve got the talent, we’ve got the ability, so it’s just a matter of executing it. And we’ve beaten far better teams than what we lost to this weekend, not to take anything away from those programs, they do a good job, but these girls could do it, so I’m going to do my best to try to build up their confidence and try to remind them that they can do it, and it’s not a physical thing.
“The cool part about it is that we’ve got the horses to win the race. It’s just getting them to believe it. And that’s tough, as a coach, to tell somebody that they’re great, but if you don’t believe it, then you’re not great because your perception is your reality,” Reed said.
“I think the competition brings it out, and so that’s something I like to do in practice, is just compete. It’s one of the greatest things about sports is you get to go head-to-head with somebody and find out who’s the best at the end of the day. And from what I’ve seen from this group, they thrive off of that, they do well with that.
“When I ask them to compete, when I tell them what needs to be done, they can get it done. And so that’s what we’ll do today and this week, and remind them that there’s still a lot to play for. I still have a lot of confidence in them and it’s a bummer, [because] you want your record to be better and all that stuff, but you want to be playing the best volleyball at the end, and here we are.”
Next, the Greyhounds will travel to Romeoville, Ill., to battle the Lewis University Flyers on Nov. 11.