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Volleyball Falls in Three Close Matches in Iowa

Volleyball | Photo by Diana Jaber | The Wright State Guardian

The Wright State University Volleyball team headed to Ames, Iowa over the weekend to take part in the Cardinal & Gold Challenge, facing its toughest competition of the year against Iowa, Drake and Iowa State.

The matches 

While the Raiders came into the weekend with a 5-game winning streak, it wasn’t enough to overcome the Power-5 competition. The team lost in five sets to Iowa and Drake and fell in four to Iowa State.

The Raiders hope to gain confidence through experience after facing high-level opponents to prepare for a home opener versus the University of Dayton later this week. 

“It’s not necessarily about how we fare in terms of our results,” Head Coach Travers Green said before this weekend’s matches. “We’re gonna at least put a good product in the core. I’m not sure how we’ll fare, but I know we’ll get better in certain areas that we’re trying to improve in.”

Adapting quickly

With a brand new coach before the season started, the team needed to hit the ground running to master a new style.

“I think we, as a team, have really worked hard adapting to this new coaching style,” right side hitter Callie Martin said. “We worked really hard throughout preseason to be able to learn this new style of, kind of, volleyball that we’re playing,” 

With only two weeks to prepare for the first match, Green focused on making sure that the players had all the information to piece together throughout the season.

“We had basically two weeks before our first match, so it was somewhat intentional to overwhelm them with information to start,” Green said. “Then, we just kind of pieced it together and got them more comfortable as we headed into Marshall for our first few matches.”

The team system revolves around offensive speed with quick sets to the outside hitters who then have a better chance to beat the opponents’ block. With WSU’s roster full of strong hitters, the system makes perfect sense.

“We have a lot of hitters coming in and we’re all pretty big hitters, strong hitters,” Martin said. “We’re all smart players, too.”

In Green’s system, the speed of play is about giving the strong outside hitters the best chance to place the ball in the best spots on the court.

“It just opens up more things for them,” Green said. “In our system, if we can run with tempo, we just open more things up so our hitters can just hit a different variety of shots.”

Coming home

After the Cardinal & Gold Challenge, the Raiders will focus on the first full home invitational. The first and third matches of the weekend bring a special element for the Raiders: a crosstown rivalry.

“I am so pumped to open and it be against Dayton,” Martin said. “McLin is gonna get rowdy, so I know the team is excited for that and to finally play at home.”

The Flyers have given the Raiders a close game when the teams have faced off in the past few years, so the two games over the weekend are a perfect test for the Raiders.

 “We just have to go with open minds,” Martin said. “We know these teams are gonna be big and they’re gonna be good, but if we just play some great volleyball, I think we’ll give them a good game.”

The Raiders will play the Flyers on Thursday, Sept. 15 at 6 p.m. The team will then play Wichita State on Saturday, Sept. 17 at 11 a.m. and finally the University of Dayton again that same day at 6 p.m. All three games will be in McLin Gymnasium with free admission.

Noah Kindig

Sports Reporter