Volleyball team regroups after challenging stretch

The women’s volleyball team pulled out of a five-game losing streak, claiming 3-0 victories over Carroll and Wheaton on their home court on Oct. 21.

“We went up to Madison, and that whole week we weren’t mentally zoned. We went into the match the same way,” said Head Coach Jenna Ness. “We talked a lot about how we play like we practice, and it reflected all three matches that whole week.”

The Duhawks fell to Edgewood on Oct. 3, Buena Vista on Oct. 6 and Nebraska Wesleyan on Oct. 7, all with final scores of 3-0.

(Photos by Jonathan Quinn) Sophomore middle Kayla Kinney takes a rip into Wheaton’s defense. Kinney racked up seven kills in the match.

“They were tough road trips, which we expected and tried to mentally prepare for, but nothing really meshed, nothing really gelled. It wasn’t necessarily one thing,” said Ness. “They still played hard, still played tough. We just couldn’t find a way to put a ball away.”

Traveling back to Dubuque on Oct. 11, the visiting Wartburg Knights took the set 3-0 with scores of 25-19, 25-13 and 25-19. Sophomore Kayla Kinney put up stats in many categories: seven kills, three blocks, and three aces, Loras totally eight aces to Wartburg’s six.

The women then traveled to Augustana on Friday, Oct. 13, hoping to shake things up with the non-conference match. Though the Duhawks came away with their fifth L, the set scores themselves prove the match didn’t lack competition: 25-20, 26-24, 25-19.

Sophomore Michelle Budden led the Duhawks offense with 11 kills along with fellow sophomore Kelly Boge who finished with seven. On the defensive end, junior Jenna LaCourt brought her career digs over 300, grabbing nine from the Augie match.

Saturday, Oct. 21, brought on a lot of volleyball. The women’s program opened up with an alumni match against the JV, bringing 11 alumni players back home. Since they had not played a game in over a week, the women were able to take control on their home court and come away with two sweeps for the day.

The women took on Carroll at noon, claiming victory 25-19, 26-24, 25-18. Having come away with a hard-earned victory in five sets in the beginning of September, the Duhawks knew this rematch would be competitive.

Junior Jenna LaCorte drops into serve-receive position after dishing out two aces herself. The Duhawks won both games against Wheaton and Carroll on Saturday.

“We served really well and we passed really well; we were able to be in system. Multiple women stepped up in ways they hadn’t yet this year,” said Ness. “Carroll is a strong team. They do things that traditionally score on us, but we started to pick up on these tricks, which is really good to see.”

Senior Haley Bergan led the Duhawk defense with 17 digs, inching her way toward a 500 season. Junior rightside Lindsay Lannen slammed nine kills from her pin.

“We were able to run our middles and our right sides way more just because we were in system,” said Ness. “They had more of an opportunity to step up because of the position that our back row put us in.”

Almost immediately following, they carried over their energy as they swept Wheaton 25-22, 25-20, and 25-20.

“It was a long day as far as playing goes and our women being in the gym, but at the same time they stayed mentally focused,” said Ness. “They were definitely on a mission. They played loose and calm and relaxed and confident and hard, which was good to see.”

On Tuesday evening, the Duhawks were unable to clinch the sixth seed berth against Luther in Decorah, falling 3-1 in the best of five games.

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Natalie Droeske is the Executive Sports Editor for The Lorian.

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