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The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Despite record, positives prevail for volleyball

By Jack Wickham

As a real sports fan knows, a team’s record is not always telling of a team’s talent. While the Macalester women’s volleyball team’s record of 4-24 is less than desirable, the Scots definitely had their moments on the court. Winning their first four games of the season and scaring nationally-ranked Gustavus Adolphus in a close 3-2 game (in which outside hitter Sonia Muzikarova ’09 recorded a MIAC season record 31 hits) were highpoints for the team, as was giving second ranked Emory a close 28-26 set after losing the first 25-6.

The team started the season off on a very high note. After beating Martin Luther and Crown in relatively easy matches, 3-1 and 3-0 respectively, the Scots faced their first big challenge against #19 ranked Wisconsin-Eau Claire. The Blugolds took the first two sets 25-10 and 25-11, but the Scots came back to win the last three sets 25-22, 25-23, and 15-11. The key in this effort was teamwork: no player had more than eight total kills, and setter Danielle Dweck ’12 handed out 29 assists throughout the match.

After one more 3-0 victory against Schreiner (Tex.), the women started to falter. In their first home game – and the first volleyball game ever held in the Leonard Center – the team opened their MIAC season against Carleton, losing the match 3-1. After that, the team went to Atlanta to play in the Emory invitational, narrowly losing their four matches. The team went on to play all the MIAC teams and other schools in two different tournaments, the Wisconsin-River Falls Invitational and the Dubuque Invitational, finishing with four wins and 24 losses. It is important to note, however, that many matches were extremely close, including five 3-2 losses.

The team’s strength, according to the players, was defense. The team averaged 11.5 digs per set. Part of this was the women’s ability to play together as a team. While Marie Godwin ’10 and libero Kiera Coulter ’11 led with 3.03 and 2.1 digs per set, respectively, Muzikarova, Dweck, and right-side hitter Erin Cusac ’10 all helped out strongly on the defensive end.

While last year’s team’s losing record of 3-21 was not that different from this year’s record, the two seasons are very different in many respects.

“First of all, we didn’t have practice at five a.m. this year, which is a huge difference,” Coulter said. “All our [MIAC] games were home, which was nice in terms of having friends come, which contributed to us playing well. Even though our record was similar, we were much more competitive this year. This year was definitely better in terms of sets won versus sets lost. Since we lost seven players last year, the team definitely had a different dynamic this year. We lost all of last year’s upperclassmen.”

What many fans don’t realize is how competitive the MIAC conference was this year. Four teams, St. Thomas, Gustavus Adolphus, St. Benedict, and Concordia-Moorhead, were all nationally ranked in Division III volleyball, thus making the MIAC one of the most competitive conferences in the nation.

Everyone is really talented at their position [in this conference],” Dweck said. “The MIAC teams were very competitive. All the games were very competitive, and almost all of them were very close. It really just depended on the day we were having.”

“[The rankings] definitely put the conference in perspective” Cusac said. “They show us how competitive it is. It’s kind of uncanny how many teams are ranked in our conference. It shows us how much work we have left to do.”

Because this year’s team is so young, and recruitment is a large factor to the makeup of the team, the members and Coach Stephanie Schleuder are hopeful for next year.

“I thought we made some dramatic, promising improvements in the last third of this year’s season,” Schleuder said. “Unfortunately that’s when we had our toughest schedule. Although we didn’t win any matches, we were playing significantly better.

“Recruiting is always critical. It’s a big challenge [because of Macalester’s academic standards and high cost]. Fortunately we have a great academic reputation to help us sell the school. I’d like to add four or five players because we had such a small team this year. We’re only losing one senior, which is a positive thing.”

Though this season was not extremely successful concerning wins and losses, the women proved their talent multiple times, and are optimistic for what next year will bring.

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    Wendy MorganSep 5, 2019 at 9:03 am

    Hi there, is it rite to just study from books not to visit internet for hottest updates, what you say guys?