The University of Indianapolis volleyball team competed against McKendree University on Saturday, Oct. 10, and the University of Illinois Springfield on Sunday, Oct. 9. UIndy beat each team 4-1.
UIndy beat McKendree after fours sets, 25-20, 25-23, 23-25, 25-23. In the win the Greyhounds had 15 blocks, which is the most the Hounds have had in a four-set win since November 2013. Junior middle back Shelby Ruffner and freshman middle back Katie Voelz led the team with six-block assist apiece.
Through the first set UIndy was hitting at .391, while they held the Bearcats to .135. In a tight second set after going back-and-forth Greyhound sophomore outside hitter Kacee Slayer’s fifth kill of the match captured the 25-23 win for the Hounds.
Although UIndy lost the third set, the team bounced back in the fourth. With the score at 24-23 in favor of the UIndy, junior middle blocker Becca Lira and Ruffner blocked a Bearcat attack to finish the game.
While facing UIS, UIndy lost the first set against the Prairie Stars, 26-24, the team rebounded and took the next three sets 25-21, 25-19, 25-17. UIndy had 57 kills on 131 attacks through the match. Freshman outside hitter Kate Bontrager had a career high 14 kills, and Lira had 13. During the match the Greyhounds hit a second-best season percentage of .305.
Senior outside hitter Hailey Brown played libero in the final three set and finished the game with nine digs.
UIndy swept the Pumas on Oct. 6 in three sets despite Saint Joseph’s having home court advantage. The set scores were 25-18, 25-20, 25-23. This was the 27th straight time UIndy have beaten the Pumas. Lira led the team in total attacks with 30.
On Oct. 3, UIndy swept Kentucky State University 25-16, 25-13, 25-21, bouncing back from a loss to Lewis University 25-17, 25-21, 25-21 earlier in the day.
Against Kentucky State, Bontrager led the Hounds in kills with 11 during the match. Followed by freshman outside hitter Sarah Skinner with eight.
Prior to sweeping Kentucky State, UIndy fell to Lewis University.
In the match there were 12 ties and five lead changes. Lira led the team with 12 kills during the match.
During the third set, Salyers hit back-to-back kills to tie the game at 21-21, but UIndy could not capitalize. Lewis called a timeout and then scored four straight to take the match.
Prior to facing Lewis, junior setter Natalie Wichern reflected on the rivalry between the two teams.
“Lewis just recently got ranked 23rd in the nation, which is a huge deal,” she said. “Every time we play them, whether it’s here or there, there is a huge crowd. It’s a big rivalry, so it’s a really fun game, but there is a lot of emotion. So we’re just working on doing the little things — execution at a high level and consistency.”
Head Volleyball Coach Jason Reed recognizes that with young plays come less experience, but he believes his team has it what it takes.
“We need to control our side of the net, because of what we’ve got in terms of having players so young. They just haven’t had the experience to be in these situations where they have to step up and play good volleyball when it counts,” Reed said. “We’re asking some of these freshmen and sophomores to be our go-to players, and they’ve never been in that situation before. They’re going to make mistakes, so we’re living through some of those mistakes. But at the end of the day, I know they have it in them; they know they have it in them. We’re right there at the hump, and we need to get over it. We’re close, and we’re going to be all right.”
The team’s next match will be Aurora, Ill. on Oct. 16-17, to compete in the Mizuno Great Lakes Valley Conference/Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Crossover. The time has yet to be determined.