The women’s volleyball team has bounced back to win three of their last four matches after suffering a rough patch of four losses last week.
The tough streak began when Gustavus Adolphus upended the Duhawks in the final match of the Loras Invitational. This was followed by similar outcomes against Coe, Cornell, and the University of Dubuque. Those matches put Loras in a difficult position, as both Coe and Dubuque are conference opponents, meaning the Duhawks now have a 0-2 record in conference play.
Determined to start a new streak, Loras knew they had to play hard at the IIAC-NACC Crossover Challenge this past weekend, and that’s exactly what they did. The Duhawks played a series of four matches at the tournament and won three of them. They defeated Edgewood, Dominican, and Lakeland before falling to Concordia Wisconsin in their final match of the weekend.
The matches against Edgewood and Dominican were very similar in that the Duhawks won the first set of each, fell in the second, and took the final two. The contest against Lakeland took a little more effort as it went to five sets, but the Duhawks still came out on top with a score of 3-2. Despite falling to Concordia on the last day, Loras should be proud of the turnaround they made.
It’s even more impressive considering the team realized a change was needed on their own. When asked about what advice head coach Jenna Ness gave her team heading into the tournament, she credited her team for knowing what to do without being told.
“Honestly, the girls came in to practice and set the tone that we have work to do and we need to do it now. There were two ways things could have gone — positive or negative. The message was to keep believing in the process, and the outcomes will eventually be there,” said Ness.
In order to win consistently, the team will need to balance their experience and knowledge of last year’s triumph with the new strengths of this season.
“Everyone keeps relating last year and this year, but the team is very different than last year, and things aren’t going to just change. We worked hard last year to turn or season around. Our team has had to mentally figure out how to play with a target on our backs, something that has never been the case in three years. The leaders (on the team) were very positive and got everyone to work harder in our next practice,” Ness said.
This leadership and hard work is exactly what the team needs going forward, especially considering the series of conference matches coming up. Loras’ next five games are against conference opponents, and their performance is crucial for moving up in the standings.
The Duhawks will face Central and Simpson on the road before returning home to play Buena Vista on Wednesday,
Oct. 5, for Dig Pink Night.
Ness is pleased with her team’s turnaround at the crossover challenge and has a positive outlook on the remainder of the season.
“They started to show some resiliency with the way they played over the weekend. There is still a long way to go, but if we keep trusting in each other good things will come.”