By Jake Loel
Last Tuesday, Sept. 3., the University of Dallas Lady Crusaders took on the Wiley College Lady Wildcats. Although the Crusaders ended up winning three sets to one, senior captain Emily Caples was not completely satisfied with the team’s play.
“[Our game] was really slow,” she said. “There was no sense of urgency on our side of the court.”
The Lady Wildcats put up quite a fight, and each of the four sets was decided by a margin of nine points or less. The Wildcat defense was “really scrappy,” according to Caples.
However, the captain was not completely unhappy about the match. She praised the team’s serve-receive passing as well as its blockers.
“[They] were able to get a lot of touches on the ball to slow it down for our defense,” she said. She also praised sophomore libero, Jessie Koster.
“[She] did a really great job digging hard driven balls that went around or over the block,” Caples said. Koster, who hails from Sherwood, Ore., leads the team in digs, averaging almost six digs per game.
On Thursday, Oct. 2, sporting new white jerseys, the Lady Crusaders took on an extremely tall Jarvis Christian College Lady Bulldog squad. The Crusaders played the Bulldogs earlier in the season, and swept them without trouble. This late in the season, though, they had hope that their tough season schedule had not yet exhausted them. And they also had to hope that the Lady Bulldogs had not changed their playing style too much. Luckily for the Lady Crusaders, things went their way.
In the first set, the Crusaders showed the effectiveness of their grueling practices by their impeccable court organization, which was far superior to the shakiness of the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs, despite their height and obvious strength, made far too many mistakes to capitalize on their physical advantages, eventually falling to the Lady Crusaders, 25-15.
In the second set, the Lady Crusaders gained even more confidence, beating their opponents 25-6. Junior Jaime Birzer showed her enormous talent, making kill after kill, and she seemed to be active everywhere on the court.
“J[aime]’s been working really hard on and off the court,” said junior Cat Dowgwillo. “It really sets a standard for the rest of us.”
The final set was similar to the first, with the Lady Crusaders beating the Lady Bulldogs 25-18. After the game, an exhausted Dowgwillo cited precision, technique and communication as the prime movers behind the easy victory.
“We just did the little things right,” she said.
The next match for the Lady Crusaders was on Saturday, Oct. 4 against the Dallas Christian College Lady Crusaders for the Dallas Christian homecoming week. The UD squad proved which Crusaders were stronger, making short work of the Dallas Christian squad, beating them in three short sets early in the morning: 25-14, 25-15, 25-14.
The Lady Crusaders have almost a full week before they travel to Colorado Springs, Colo. to take on Austin College, Colorado College and Centenary College of Louisiana in a Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) divisional tournament next weekend. After the Colorado trip, the Lady Crusaders have only a few more matches left, including two home games in a row as they prepare for the SCAC championship tournament in Sherman, Texas in less than a month. This is the point in the season where wins mean the most. Let’s hope that the women can hold on and continue the great work.