IUPUI Volleyball had a rough start to their Summit League schedule, dropping the first four matches (North Dakota State, South Dakota State, IPFW, and Oral Roberts) before finally picking up a win at home against Southern Utah.
Things did not get any better for IUPUI’s Volleyball squad Friday night as the Lady Jags fell to yet another conference opponent, Oral Roberts.
Faces were covered with competitive grimaces and voices were filled with cheers and chants to get the ladies pumped up during the first set. They came out establishing themselves with key plays from senior Kaylse Reimbold and junior Bethany Fogler taking the ladies up 10-6.
But the Golden Eagles rallied back and never slowed down. With a great sense of teamwork, Oral Roberts picked apart the Jaguars on defense. They finished the set with 14 kills on open places on the court. Coach Steve Payne called a timeout after the ladies lost the lead, 12-11 to help them regroup, but the momentum stayed with ORU. After a 15-all tie, ORU finished the first set 25-21.
The second set, the Jaguars appeared discouraged as they quickly became down 15-7. Later they would tie twice and finally take the lead of the set for the first time 23-22 after a huge play on the kill from Fogler. Unfortunately, the ladies’ miscommunication became their ultimate downfall as they lost the second set 25-23 and in the third set, 25-19.
“We didn’t communicate very well as a team out there,” said Payne. “After playing three really good matches, our last three, we just kind of had a really bad let down.”
The letdown may have come at the wrong time as the Jags suffered their fourth loss of the season to a Summit League conference rival. Fortunately, there are 12 more team conference matches left to play.
Payne says there is no such thing as a team leader and that it will take the entire team to get themselves going as a whole. With a 0-4 conference record and 5-10 overall, the ladies need to get themselves going very soon.
IUPUI entered the final match of their three-game home stand Saturday against the Thunderbirds of Southern Utah University. The Jags previously lost their first game to IPFW, with the Mastodons pulling off a late rally after 3 sets. Then in the second game against the Golden Eagles of Oral Roberts, the dark cloud returned above the Jaguars, continuing their struggle to lose in three straight sets. Still seeking their first conference win of the season, the Jaguars went into their final home game before their next road trip hoping to put a cherry on top of an otherwise unfortunate week of volleyball.
Both teams had trouble early with their digs. IUPUI chased the Thunderbirds often in the first set, making a recovery from a late 19-13 deficit. They even slammed 6 of 8 points to force a Southern Utah timeout. The first would close with poorly timed miscommunication IUPUI, giving Southern Utah the win, 25-22.
Having accumulated a 6 set losing streak to that point, IUPUI desperately needed some sort of momentum to build on to make sure they weren’t leaving The Jungle empty handed. After a strong start in the second set, Jaguars took a 5-1 lead, but after that things would get complicated. The Jaguars would keep the lead coming out of a SUU timeout with a 20-17 advantage. While were enjoying their five point lead, Southern Utah then forced the Jags to take a quick timeout after scoring the next two points, to trim the Jaguars lead, 24-21. The final point came when Southern Utah knocked the ball slightly wide of IUPUI’s boundary line for a hit error, breaking Jaguars set losing streak.
IUPUI showed some promise in the start of the third set, coming out of the break with a 6-2 lead, then pushing Southern Utah into a well needed timeout once Jaguars lead had grown, 13-7. The lead for the Jags began to disappear once Southern Utah began to unleash their power, dishing out a five-point push. The Thunderbirds were then re-inspired by Analaine Mailoto’s strong play, providing seven kills for the set. Going into set point for the Jags, Déjà-vu would haunt the Thunderbirds when a returned strike faded out of play, giving the home side the set second win, 25-23.
The fourth set continued to deliver excitement for the fans. IUPUI took the first timeout as Southern Utah gained a 13-12 advantage. Jaguars Head Coach Steve Payne, shouted for his team to keep their heads up and they would eventually find themselves ahead by five after a seven point rally. Southern Utah took a timeout to slow the Jaguars down but the plan would backfire. The Jaguars didn’t let this lead go to waste, as they took the set 25-17, capturing their first Summit League win of the season 3-1.
Coach Payne commented on what the mind set was coming out of the final time-out with a five point lead. ”[We] just cannot let the little things hurt us, don’t let them get the easy points. That was an A on our part.”
The monkey is off the Lady Jaguars back for now, but they face more tough opponents along the way the next few weeks.
Friday, Sept 23
ORU 25-25-25 (3)
IUPUI 22-23-19 (0)
Saturday, Sept. 24
SUU 25-21-23-17 (1)
IUPUI 22-25-25-25 (3)
IUPUI 22-25-25-25 (3)