High praise for Lewis and her players

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Freshman Merit Paramo goes head-to-head with the Shandong Province Volleyball Association. University of Dallas Photo.

The University of Dallas Volleyball  (UDVB) team won their season opener in spectacular fashion last Thursday in a five-set thriller against Arlington Baptist College. After racing to a 2-0 lead, UD conceded the next two sets to Arlington Baptist, who managed to push them beyond the 15-point mark in the final set.

They hardly had time to take in their hard-earned victory, however, before they were on the road again for the Austin College Classic in Sherman, Texas. Less than 24 hours after their first victory, they tipped off against LeTourneau University in a match they would take 3-1.

After dropping the first set 21-25, UD regained the lead, battling to win the second and third sets before closing out the match with a decisive score of 25-10 in fourth set.

In the subsequent match of Friday’s doubleheader, however, the Lady Crusader’s determination was not enough to get past the Patriots of University of Texas at Tyler, who swept them in straight sets to hand them their first defeat of the season.

Despite the loss, they remained positive and excited for the weekend’s remaining games.

“We have done really well,” junior Mary Scholz said after Friday’s games. “We have a lot of newcomers, but they are blending really well. I think we have a bright future ahead of us. It is all about consistency for us: playing our game as long as we can and as well as we can.”

On Saturday, UD repeated the previous day’s result, going 1-1 with a 3-0 victory over Sul Ross State University and a 0-3 loss to the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.

Reflecting on their opening 3-2 record, senior Anna Fazio overflowed with praise for her teammates, her coach and the team as a whole.

“Our freshmen had great energy which worked well with the older energy,” Fazio said. “Merit [Paramo] transitioned from defensive specialist to middle hitter during preseason and we’ve seen nothing but improvement every day. Krystyn [Pua] was a great defensive addition; balls don’t hit the ground with her on the court.”

Fazio also praised various returners as essential to their success.

“Mary Scholz made a huge comeback after many knee surgeries, and [is] already breaking her personal career highs,” Fazio said. “Jessie Koster is always incredible, she’s absolutely limitless. The team trusts her fully out there and she keeps impressing us.”

Fazio closed her comments with a glowing tribute to their new coach.

“Coach Lewis has been a wonderful addition to our program,” Fazio said. “She changed our defense a lot in preseason and isn’t ever scared to change things up which is great for our team, even changing lineups from match to match. She’s going to make a lasting impression on the future of UDVB, as well as our athletics program as a whole.”

After finally getting some time to breathe, the Lady Crusaders look forward to continuing their success when they return to the court in Sherman, Texas for the Austin College Invitational on Sept. 9-10.

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