By Jake Loel
The University of Dallas women’s volleyball team, having qualified for the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) championships, played its final matches this past weekend. The Lady Crusaders first took on the Bulldogs of Texas Lutheran University in the opening match, in a hotly contested game. The Crusaders took the first two matches, although not without trouble, beating the Bulldogs 26-24 and then 25-20. The Lady Bulldogs fought back and won the next two matches 25-19 and 25-18. At this point, the momentum was on the side of the Bulldogs.
“We had beaten TLU twice in regular season so losing was not an option. We really just made the decision to win. There was no other option in our eyes, and we played with a great fire and intensity and truly just had passion for the game,” junior Cat Dowgwillo said.
That passion was apparent out on the court. The Lady Crusaders went on to take the Bulldogs by storm, winning 15-8. Senior C.J. Broadbent, a setter from Goodyear, Ariz., was “phenomenal” according to Scacsports.com, with 48 assists and 19 digs.
Later that afternoon the Lady Crusaders took on Austin College, the No. 1 ranked team in the conference for the semifinal match. The Lady Crusaders were hopeful according to Dowgwillo, but they started off poorly. They lost the first game to the Lady Kangaroos with a score of 25-10. The Lady Crusaders fought hard in the second and third sets but ultimately lost 25-19 and 25-18, crushing their hopes of a championship win. The team “did not perform how [they] needed to in order to beat a team of that caliber,” according to Dowgwillo. The Trinity Tigers went on to win the SCAC championship, after beating the Pirates of Southwestern University three sets to none.
The Lady Crusaders were given a final chance to prove their worth in a 3rd place game against Colorado College. Dowgwillo’s words showed how determined the Lady Crusaders were to prove their worth.
“We had something to prove to ourselves and to the other teams in the SCAC,” Dowgwillo stated.
Although the first set was tough for the exhausted Crusaders, leading to an eventual loss of 25-8, the Lady Crusaders fought back and won 25-14 in the second set.
In the third set, the Lady Crusaders were apparently on their way to a victory when they received what Dowgwillo simply called “a really bad call” by a referee. This completely changed the momentum of the game, and the Lady Crusaders went down 25-22. They went on to fall apart in the final set, losing 25-18. After the match, Dowgwillo remarked “[C.J. Broadbent] and Em[ily Caples] played really well this weekend, but Em really played her heart out to Colorado.”
Looking forward to the following season, the team will miss the presence of Caples, Broadbent and outside hitter Christine Jablonsky, all of whom Dowgwillo identified as “integral players.” Nonetheless, the team is excited for next year and determined to learn from their mistakes. The team will look to Dowgwillo and Jaime Birzer, both of whom will be seniors next year, for leadership, as well as Jesse Koster and Mairin Guilfoyle, sophomores who proved their worth as standout players throughout this season.