Volleyball was in for a close weekend as they competed against Florida Gulf Coast and South Alabama on Friday and Saturday. Although the matches were competitive, the Eagles were unable to find a win. Their record dropped to 5-10 on the season, and 0-3 in conference play.
“Disappointing, but there were some improvements that we made that we saw all week,” said Head Coach Dustin Wood said after losing to FGC 2-3. “Offense got going the two sets that we won. Even in the first set, we did pretty well–the set that we lost. But we’re just inconsistent. Fourth and fifth set, we didn’t look good at all.”
It was a highly contested game between the two teams. The first set was lost, 20-25. But as Wood mentioned, there was a lot of good play to be noticed. Redshirt junior Alex Beecher played stellar defense. She ended with 27 digs on the game. Freshman Lauren Reichard also played impressively, totaling 13 kills in the match.
The two sets the Eagles won, the second and third, were driven by momentum. Especially in the second set, when the Eagles were ahead in scoring, they made sure to keep the intensity up and not let go . Redshirt sophomore Megan Chevalier and redshirt junior Crysten Curry began putting up numbers. The tangent of freshman Stephanie Spencer and junior Avery Stephens also played well when they rotated in.
When the momentum shift slowed down for the Eagles in the fourth set, the match took a turn downhill. The pace the Eagles had earlier started slowing down. They were unable to secure a wide lead as they had done in the previous sets. This eventually led to a fifth set where the Eagles found themselves unable to find an opening. 7-15 was the fifth set scoring, leading the Eagles to their defeat.
South Alabama was another game of tempo. It featured a lot of player rotations and player changes. The synchronization of those player changes varied, resulting in different outcomes for each set. In the end, the Eagles couldn’t find what they wanted and they were defeated, 1-3.
“Very disappointing,” said Wood. “We played well at times. We need to find a setter; we need to find some outsides. We’re just not producing, so we’re changing lineups. We’re trying to find people who can play, but we’re not executing. We’re looking for something.”
The team kept a small lead in the fourth set, but were unable to keep it as the Jaguars battled back to win. In pressure situations, the Eagles haven’t found the key to stay clutch and secure the win.
“We couldn’t find a middle so we were really attacking well in the middles,” said Wood. “Our middles were hitting very well. Then we went away from it. And that’s why we lost set four. We got to regroup and work harder.”
Conference play makes up the rest of the Eagles’ schedule for the season. They will be heading to Texas to compete against the University of Texas at Arlington on Thursday. On Saturday, they will face Texas State, also in Texas.