Despite being in the middle of a busy season, the University of Indianapolis volleyball team has not lost sight of what is important and has been working to benefit the community through fundraising and volunteering.
During the matchup with the Lewis University Flyers on Sept. 23, the women wore and sold T-shirts to promote the Hope Center, which is a shelter for women who have been victims of human sex trafficking.
“So it’s [the Hope Center] a really cool place. We went out there and volunteered. We painted, cleaned up and taped off rooms to be painted,” Head Volleyball Coach Jason Reed said. “As we were leaving, the girls kept coming up and saying, ‘We’ve got to do more. This isn’t enough.’ And so they kind of took it upon themselves to sell T-shirts, which we are doing this week, and kind of do a drive at the match to bring in canned goods or clothing, or just whatever items that they might need there. Their kind of CEO and Volunteer Coordinator are coming to the match, and we’re hoping to give them the big check. So stuff like that is a way to give back to the community…. These things are great to pull people together. We are working together for a cause that’s way bigger than ourselves, and that goes a long way with the team in terms of bonding.”
Although the Flyers defeated the Hounds 3-0, the team was still happy to lend a hand in the community and present a check to the Hope Center, according to Reed.
Two of the three sets, the Hounds were within four points of the Flyers, but fell 25-8 in the second match. Despite the loss, sophomore outside hitter Anna Fehribach recorded nine kills, followed by senior middle block/right side hitter Teigan Flaws. Freshman libero Olivia Martin defended the court with 13 digs.
Prior to the loss the women swept Kentucky State University 3-0, with match scores of 26-24, 25-12 and 25-21. The women racked up over 40 kills, 10 of which were contributed by sophomore right side hitter Julia Kruzan. The team suffered only two attack errors and recorded nine aces.
On the court, the team hopes to redefine what makes UIndy volleyball and learn how to mesh as a team.
“It’s definitely a young team. 12 of 17 are sophomores [or freshmen], so we have five upperclassmen. And there’s only three seniors, and we are all newer to the program,” setter Alexis Waugh said. “So we are trying to make UIndy volleyball what it’s been in the past and also coming up with what it can be for the future. It’s definitely a challenge, but it’s really nice to get everyone’s kind of vibe and figure out how everyone plays and try to merge it together to come up with what makes UIndy volleyball.”
The team got its first conference win against Drury University on Sept. 16. The Greyhounds started with a 2-0 set lead that brought them to 16 kills, resulting in only three attacking errors. Outside hitter Anna Fehribach, outside hitter Rachel Irbe and right-side hitter Julia Kruzan each had six kills in the second set after the first two frames. Drury then switched it up in the third set with a score of 25-17, but middle blocker/right-side hitter Teigan Flaws had two kills, which brought the final score to 26-24 in the last set to win the game.
According to Reed, the team tried to switch up its preseason work for the better this year.
“We try to give them something new in terms of some sort of skill set that is a little bit different from things we have done in the past. So that way practice isn’t just the same old thing every single day,” Reed said. “It’s a lot like class. If you came in every single day and did two plus two equals four, eventually you would get bored with saying two plus two equals four. So kind of the same thing with volleyball. We want to work on passing, but we have to change the drill up a little bit. So that way, we are still getting better at our passing skills, but we’re making the drill a little more interesting. We’re finding a new way to keep it interesting for them, so that way their skills continue to improve.”
In addition to changing up it’s learning methods, the team is trying to focus on its defensive side, being a smaller and mainly younger team. Reed said that the team want defense to become a team staple and continue to work on it on a daily basis through a course of defensive exercises so they continue doing well.
“I think last year we didn’t do as good of a job as we are this year, as to worrying about our process. So we really kind of scaled back and stopped thinking about goals. And I know that’s something we like to talk about like, ‘What are your goals for this season?’ [or] ‘Who’s circled on the calendar?’ And we’ve really tried to avoid that stuff,” Reed said. “We’ve really tried to come in today and worry about the seven seconds in front of our face right now, and that’s the stuff we can control. We’re going to keep working on getting better today and you know we obviously have to prepare for the upcoming matches…. But we really want to work on just getting better at volleyball with UIndy, and the process is going to take care of the results.”
The team will continue to work together on and off the court to continue to create what UIndy volleyball is, and will take these outcomes as a lesson.
“Winning in itself is motivation. The girls are hungry. They have been working hard, and the reward for them for working hard is a win,” Reed said.
The Greyhounds will travel to Quincy, Ill., on Sept. 29 to take on Quincy University. The game is set to start at 8 p.m.