By Jake Loel
Last weekend, the women’s volleyball team hit the road to compete in a Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) tournament with Centenary College of Louisiana, Austin College and Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
On Friday, the Lady Crusaders took on the familiar team from Centenary College, and easily swept them three sets to none. The Lady Crusaders have yet to concede even one set to Centenary this year, and, although the team’s “energy wasn’t really there,” according to senior captain Emily Caples, the team was still able to get away with the lack of energy against Centenary. Caples cited the serving of the team, and especially the serving of junior Jaime Birzer as a key part of the victory. Birzer, a 6-foot middle blocker from Ottawa, Kansas, who also leads the team in blocks, has a total of 53 blocks so far this season, according to the University of Dallas Athletics website.
On Saturday, the Lady Crusaders took on their cross-state rivals, the Austin College Kangaroos. After the Kangaroos took an early two-set lead, the Lady Crusaders made a three-set rally to win the match. The victory did not come easy, though.
“Our hitters were having a hard time getting the [ball] over the net and away from [Austin College’s] block.” Caples said after the match.
After two sets of a clear inability to adjust, the lady Crusaders finally figured out how to “roll shots to good locations … throwing the offense out of their system.” The team has rarely seen a match with five sets this season, but they ultimately were able to win the final set 18-16, despite falling back into “a routine of hitting into the block, missing digs and making …thoughtless plays,” commented Caples.
Although Colorado Springs is more than 6000 feet above sea level (more than 5000 feet higher than the Dallas area) the altitude was not a detrimental factor for the Lady Crusaders.
“We’re doing a good job staying hydrated,” Caples said, so the altitude “[wasn’t] much of an issue”.
Later that day, the Lady Crusaders took on the final test of the weekend: the Colorado College Tigers Squad. The Lady Crusaders had been extremely disappointed in their performance during their last run-in with the Tigers, where they lost after three sets. Saturday was no different. Unfortunately for the Lady Crusaders, the Lady Tigers had no trouble at all staying in control, keeping the Lady Crusaders from scoring 20 points in either match.
Despite the disappointment, the team continues their season with an overall record of 17 wins and nine losses and continues to dominate on the larger scale. They are looking forward to the SCAC championships in November.
The team’s seniors will be honored at the home game against McMurry University Tuesday, Oct. 14 at 6 p.m. This year’s seniors are outside hitter Christine Jablonsky, Caples and setter C.J. Broadbent. After Senior Night, the Lady Crusaders will have a week’s rest before returning to the Maher Athletic Center for another home game against Dallas Christian College on Oct. 21.