Volleyball tries to dig its way out of slump
The women’s volleyball team has entered a rough patch since their thrilling trailing victory over the University of Louisiana at Monroe in the Flo Hyman Collegiate Cup.
Now 5-10 on the season, the team has lost six straight matches, including four straight to start conference play.
Playing in a conference as competitive as the American Athletic Conference, the Cougars take pleasure in their opportunity to face quality opponents. The team is capable of beating anybody despite the turn their season has taken.
“It’s exciting because we like to play tougher competition,” said head coach Kaddie Platt. “Our conference is really competitive and any night somebody can win and we want to be on that side of that.”
Junior setter Keandra McCardell is turning up the intensity, averaging 8.1 assists per set over the past five games while picking up 171 of her team-high 435 assists.
“I wouldn’t call it a slump, I feel like we just need to work harder and finish through,” McCardell said. “We start off strong, so we just have to keep pushing strong.”
On the offensive side, juniors Brianna Lynch and Sarah Afflerbaugh have led the way for the Cougars, totaling 54 and 51 kills respectively during their five-game losing streak.
Although many athletes will find no solace in individual accomplishments if their team isn’t succeeding, the Cougars have found a few bright spots. The team isn’t underperforming; there’s just something in the works that isn’t really clicking.
On a team with many underclassmen playing vital roles, Platt is looking for some of the older players to take on more of a leadership role on the court.
“What we are is young and sometimes you need an older person on the court to settle things down,” Platt said. “We just need to have some people step up and take that role and let everyone else play their role.”
Winning never comes easy in Division I college athletics, but this team knows that if they keep working hard then good things will come.
With a work ethic set forth by their captain, McCardell, the Cougars hope to right the ship and get back to their winning ways.
Every team faces adversity over the course of the season, but the true test is in how they respond to it. Under the leadership of McCardell and Platt, it’s a matter of time before the Cougars can again feel the victory.
“The girls are working hard every day and there’s not one rep off in practice,” Platt said. “They’re engaged — it’s just not falling together for them at the moment.”