The University of Dallas volleyball team travelled to their second Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament this weekend, held by Rhodes College in Memphis, TN. The eight-hour bus ride gave them plenty of time for team bonding and mental preparation.
The first match against Millsaps College ended in a quick three sets (18-25, 25-27, 14-25) bringing UD their first loss of the weekend. The team struggled to string plays together, needing a good pass, good set and final kill. The second match on Saturday, against Hendrix College, brought Dallas an additional loss in three sets (20-25, 22-25, 23-25). Although this was another loss for the Lady Crusaders, they battled out and improved their ability to play in adverse situations and overcome challenges throughout the game.
After day one in Memphis, the team was feeling low, unable to determine what was missing. Coach Bob Howard’s word of wisdom picked the team up at the end of the day. He reminded them that no matter what the situation, encouragement is key; each player can encourage their teammates by stepping up and making a play or giving a simple, “You can do it.”
After the frustrations and struggles of the first day, the team hoped that the encouraging speech and delicious Memphis BBQ for dinner would pull them out of their funk. An early-morning match against Colorado College brought some new fire to the team when they finally discovered what was missing – “some swagger.”
An uplifting, insightful “swagger speech” by an anonymous freshman gave the team the extra boost they needed to compete in these conference matches. It isn’t a matter of being the best, but believing that you are the best passer, server, setter or hitter on the court and walking out like “you own the place.” With a new mindset, the Lady Crusaders competed in their best two matches of the weekend.
Although their match against Colorado College brought the team an additional loss, they played their opponents tough in four sets (22-25, 10-25, 25-18, 10-25). The swagger kept the team upbeat and hopeful for the last match of the weekend.
With a nice break in between matches, the team headed to Mass for their Sunday obligation. The second reading from Philippians preached loudly to many team members. The following passage particularly reached many players: “Never worry about anything; but tell God all your desires of every kind in prayer and petition shot through with gratitude.” Prayers throughout the Mass, lifting up our team continued to give hope.
It was time for the last match of the weekend, against Rhode’s College. The ladies went in, many feeling spiritually revived and all with a new sense of “swagger.” The team was ready to compete, and they did, no doubt. The Lady Crusaders battled it out, winning two straight sets against the Lady Lynx. However, two sets never won a match. Continuing the fight into the third set, the team struggled for two-thirds of the match, yet never gave up. The ladies played hard even when their energy was low. As the scores grew farther apart, the team “dug deep” and found the energy and “swagger” they needed. Dallas fell in the third and fourth set. However, they had the momentum, energy and swagger on their side.
After battling point for point with Rhodes College, the ladies broke out with a lead and strung together many good plays. Then Dallas struggled to make plays on several difficult serve-receive balls. Neck-and-neck with their opponent, the Lady Crusaders fought hard with determination to pull out a win. After an exciting battle, UD won their last match of the weekend as they took the last game by a score of 15-13. (Set scores: 25-21, 25-20, 18-25, 23-25, 15-13).
Dallas fought through several road blocks this weekend. Although the team went 1-3 in their matches in Memphis, they found great success in overcoming their losing streak and finding their missing link. Who ever knew a little “swagger” would be a key ingredient to finding success?