First Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament of season
By Jake Loel
After emerging victoriously against McMurry University last Tuesday, the University of Dallas women’s volleyball team played three matches in 24 hours in the exhausting Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference competition. First, the Lady Crusaders took on Colorado Collegem an apparently smaller and weaker team, but ultimately failed to win even one set, as the Lady Tigers swept the Lady Crusaders. Senior Emily Caples sent many a powerful spike over the net, but it wasn not enough.
“I wish we could have replayed them,” junior Jaime Birzer said, shaking her head. “We let them get on too many strings of points… but our errors ultimately killed us,” she said, citing the team’s lack of communication as part of the reason they were not able to capitalize on the win opportunity.
“We made way too many errors,” Caples agreed. “It was really frustrating.”
Later that day, the fatigued Crusaders took on Centenary College of Louisiana in a “Volley Rave” sponsored by UD Blue Crew. The Lady Crusaders looked like a different team than they had several hours earlier, rarely making a mistake and keeping constant communication a vital part of their game. Meanwhile, the Ladies of Centenary looked confused and uncomfortable in their first set as the Crusaders steamrolled them 25-7. The next two sets went similarly as the Lady Crusaders calmly dominated the Ladies in three short sets. According to Caples, the confidence of their calm playing style comes from their new head coach, Emily Holombek.
“Our playing style is much less stressful, and kind of relaxed,” Caples said.
Relaxed or not, the Crusaders showed just how hard they have been working, as the game was highlighted by extremely powerful kills by Caples, along with junior Cat Dowgwillo, sophomore Mairin Guilfoyle and freshman Mary Scholz.
Meanwhile, the Blue Crew event brought many students to cheer for the team in the first ever Volley Rave. The sound in the gym was deafening as neon clad students filled the stands to support the team. Caples says she never looks off the court, but she “can feel the energy when we have fans.”
“I wish all the games had people here; it really makes a difference,” Birzer added.
In the final match of the weekend, a rested-looking Crusader squad took on their conference rival, the Austin College Kangaroos, on Sunday afternoon. In the first set, an impressive Lady Kangaroo team proved they would be much more of a challenge than Centenary, with several tall girls, including one 6-foot player and another standing at 6-foot-3, according to the Austin College athletics website. The lady ‘Roos put up an aggressive fight for two very close sets, with results of 25-19 and 25-23 in favor of the Lady Crusaders. By the third set, the ‘Roos were obviously exhausted, and began to look sloppy and make fundamental mistakes. The Lady Crusaders showed impressive endurance and poise and took the final set without issue, 25-16.
“[The team] played as a unit this weekend, and was very cohesive,” Dowgwillo said.
The team has four tough games away before taking on Jarvis Christian College next Thursday, Oct. 2 in the Maher Athletic Center.