Duhawks keep digging as IIAC season starts

Potential, excitement and tough competition are just a few of the things in store for the Loras women’s volleyball team this season.
The Duhawks are off to a steady start posting a record of 4-6 prior to the beginning of Iowa Conference play that opened Wednesday. Over the weekend, the team played at home competing in four games as part of the Loras Invitational.

The women’s volleyball team will play its first Iowa Conference match at home on Tuesday, Sept. 22, against Wartburg. Photo by Maddy Cole

“We have four tough matches coming this weekend. All four will challenge us in some different ways we haven’t seen yet. I’m excited to see how our team responds, how they react, and how we do,” Coach Jenna Ness said of her high expectations for her team heading into the two-day spread of matches.

Loras went 1-3 in the invitational, defeating St. Ambrose but falling to UW-Stout, St. Mary’s and Wheaton. Although it was not the outcome the team anticipated, the Duhawks still showcased thrilling performances.

Senior Liz Jendra and junior Therese Schultz were recurring stat leaders throughout the weekend. In just four matches, Schultz recorded 31 kills and 11 blocks. Jendra added 40 kills and seven blocks including a season-high 15 kills against UW-Stout.
Prior to the tournament, Ness commented that Jendra, the Tinley Park, IL, native will be a standout performer this season especially in terms of a leadership role as she is the only senior member of the team. Despite having a young team (half of the roster is composed of freshmen players), the coach foresees substantial potential for the Duhawks.

“I’m happy to see that our freshman have nicely complemented our returners … and I’m excited to see our team challenge each other. It will be competitive throughout matches, and that’s the exciting part about having more depth this year: being able to execute in different areas and being more versatile,” said Ness when asked which other players to lookout for this season. Ness showed the confidence she has in her team by practically naming the entire squad.

Coach Ness has complete faith in her team as the Duhawks prepare to tackle the rest of their season. In addition to finally facing other members of the IIAC, Loras has several non-conference matches in the near future. The Duhawks will take on Cornell College’s No. 20 nationally ranked volleyball team on Saturday, September 19. This is one of the tough competitors that Ness is eager to meet.

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