The University of Dallas volleyball team played four games on Friday and Saturday at the ASICS Invite in St. Louis, Mo., winning the first and last games but losing the two games between those victories. Even after enduring the 10-hour bus ride to St. Louis, the team was optimistic as they prepared to begin a weekend of competition.
“We went in with really high hopes,” said sophomore Diana Hassink.
The Crusaders opened with an excellent showing, defeating Rhodes College 3-0. Junior Mairin Guilfoyle contributed the win to a stellar offensive performance.
“We’ve been working on speeding up our offense in practice, and it showed in this game, as the passes were on point and we were able to keep our offense extremely quick,” said Guilfoyle.
However, the Crusaders were swept in the next two games of the invitational, losing to Washington University and University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. In the second game, against host team Washington University, the team’s fatigue was a significant factor in the unfortunate outcome, as the game took place immediately following Dallas’ successful game against Rhodes College.
Guilfoyle stated that the Crusaders lacked crucial confidence in the case of their two setbacks.
“We were intimidated before the game even started. These teams were much bigger than us, and that threw us a bit,” Guilfoyle said. “Our passes were sloppy and we weren’t running things as quick at the net which, against a team of very good blockers, makes it near impossible to win.”
The Crusaders’ coach spoke to the team before the final game to encourage them to move past their last two losses.
The team responded to sweep the contest, which was played against Knox College.
Hassink thought that the weekend as a whole was a crucial learning experience for the team, and expects the women will use the lesson to their advantage.
“It was really good experience, getting our hands on some really good competition … seeing peoples’ strengths and weaknesses on the court,” Hassink said. “Now we all know what we need to work on … whenever we’re tired, how we work through that; whenever we’re down, how do we push through that, and still win at the end.”
The Crusaders will travel to Sherman, Texas this Friday, Sept. 11th, in order to compete in the Austin College Invitational.