By Jake Loel
Although the Lady Crusaders have finished the regular season and now look forward to the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) championships, the lives of the members of the women’s volleyball team are still quite busy.
Last Tuesday, the University of Dallas Lady Crusaders took on the Lady Patriots of Arlington Baptist College in their final game of the regular season. Although the Crusaders eventually won, the team played rather poorly, according to junior middle blocker Cat Dowgwillo, who did not play during the matchup in Arlington.
“It was rough”, Dowgwillo said. “The first game wasn’t played well at all; no one had their stuff together.”
Ultimately, the team pulled off a win, which should have come to them much more easily, considering that the Lady Patriots have an overall worse record and have fallen to teams the Lady Crusaders have beaten, like Austin College. Regardless, the Lady Crusaders hope to shake off the disappointing final game heading into the SCAC championships.
The conference championships start on Nov. 7 in Sherman, Texas. The top six of the eight women’s volleyball teams in the SCAC have qualified for the tournament, but the Lady Crusaders do not know yet who they will face in their first match. Unfortunately, there will be no team, Dowgwillo said, that will not be a challenge for the Lady Crusaders. Although the Lady Crusaders beat both Texas Lutheran University and Austin College during the season, they were both tough games. In addition, the University of Dallas is ranked fourth in the conference standings, with an 8-6 record within conference play, as compared to Trinity University (13-1), Southwestern University (12-2) and Colorado College (11-3), according to Scacsports.com. This would suggest that the Lady Crusaders are not viable contenders for the SCAC championship title, which brings with it a trip to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III tournament.
Landing a spot in the DIII tournament is a goal that has never yet been attained by the Lady Crusaders, and it is a foreign idea to many of the athletic programs of the school. However, Dowgwillo is confident in her team.
“If we all have a consistent weekend…we definitely could come out and pull off the upset.” Dowgwillo said.
Historically, the goal is not as impossible as it would seem. During the 2012 SCAC championships, Colorado College won the tournament year, coming in with a record almost identical to the Lady Crusader’s current record. Trinity, Southwestern and Colorado College all have multiple titles, and currently, the team from Trinity is the defending champion.
It remains to be seen if first year head coach Emily Holombek will be able to coach her Lady Crusaders to their lofty goal. Although winning the SCAC championships will be an extreme challenge and test of endurance, strength and desire to win, the team is pumped to take on the challenge.