A quarter final win over Missouri S&T and a win over McKendree University in the semifinals led the University of Indianapolis to a championship match, their eighth GLVC finals set up. The Greyhounds faced the Lewis University Flyers on Sunday, Nov. 22 to determine the Great Lakes Valley Conference Volleyball Champion. UIndy drew the short stick and was swept by the Flyers.
Just before the postseason began, the Greyhounds faced Lewis at home and fell 3-0, but junior middle blocker Shelby Ruffner said that making it into the tournament was a must.
“I definitely want to get the seniors to the tournament,” Ruffner said. “I think that the seniors deserve it, and everyone deserves it. We’ve worked hard this season, starting from pre-season, and it hasn’t turned out the way we had hoped. But I think we can turn it around in the end.”
Prior to the tournament Head Volleyball Coach Jason Reed expressed optimism about the team getting hot during tournament play.
“We can [be a dangerous team]. To go back, I said our good is really good, and it is,” Reed said. “It’s possible. We need to believe it. As players, they need to know how good they are and I can convince them. But at the end of the day, they have to bring it.”
Lewis topped the Greyhounds in the first set 25-18, but UIndy fought back in the second and third with even closer set scores. The second set ended 25-22 and the third set 25-23.
Ruffner led the team through three sets with 13 kills on 20 attacks. GLVC Freshman of the Year setter Maggie Gibson had 29 assist in the match and 11 digs.
The opening set was a back and forth battle between the two teams until the Flyers composed a 9-4 stretch. The second set proved to be the same, Gibson had a kill to bring the set to 15-14 Flyers, but Lewis took off from there. UIndy came with in one, 19-18, but were unable to surpass Lewis. The trend continued as the two teams headed into the third set. UIndy stayed right with Lewis through the third as the largest gap between the scores was five.
Reed attested to the team’s work ethic throughout the season.
“I certainly don’t want to make excuses for our girls, because they are very talented, and they put in the hard work,” Reed said. “I think a lot of it comes [down] to our youth. We have some younger players that are playing, and we have been up and down the entire year. Our good volleyball is really good, but our bad volleyball is pretty bad. Part of that is [the] experience that we are lacking, and part of that is mindset.”
Prior to that, UIndy found itself in a five game semifinals match against McKendree on Nov. 21. UIndy claimed the first two sets, 25-22 and 25-18, while the Bearcats took the next 25-20 and 25-22.
In the fifth set the Bearcats grabbed a 4-1 lead, but the Hounds began to close the gap to keep a tight set score. UIndy took the lead as the scoreboard read 11-10 and found its way to match point, 14-11 Greyhounds. McKendree put up two more points and Reed called a timeout. McKendree began match point with a serve that ended with a kill from Ruffner.
A quarterfinal win against Missouri S&T on Nov. 20 was a must for the Greyhounds to even make it to the championship match. The Miners forced the match into four sets as they beat the Greyhounds in the second set 25-22. In the first set the Greyhounds earned a 25-21 win, which was followed by a Miner win and two more Greyhound wins, 25-23 and 25-21. In the first set UIndy took a 10-8 lead, and then made a 4-1 run that led to a Miner timeout before UIndy claimed the set.
In the second set the Miners took an 18-9 lead, but the Greyhounds managed an 11-2 run to come within two points, 22-20. UIndy led for most of the third set, but fell behind when the Miners came up 18-17. Sophomore outside hitter Kacee Salyers provided four kills in a five-point spread to garner a Greyhound set win.
The loss to Lewis in the championship was the last game for seniors Hailey Brown, Jamie Wallace, Hannah Bauer and Natalie Wichern. In their careers, they have amassed 92 wins and made three NCAA trips, an NCAA Elite Eight appearance and a GLVC championship.