Bears look to get back on a winning track
After a disappointing loss to Elmhurst College in the opening weekend of play, the Bears will not let a 3-1 record affect their outlook for the season.
“We realize we didn’t play well at Elmhurst,” said head volleyball coach Rich Luenemann. “Although we won the tournament based on championship criteria for ties, we’d hoped to finish 4-0. We’re disappointed, but not rattled. We know what we need to work on.”
The team remains focused and determined to see through a winning season.
“It’s early in the season. We’re still working to bring everything together,” said sophomore Heidi Pfeiffer. “Our record at this point isn’t as important to focus on as where we’re headed and where we’re going to end up at the end of the season.”
The Bears are using the loss as a learning experience and are preparing for the upcoming Washington University Midwest Invitational this weekend.
“We will learn from the loss the different factors of the game that we need to improve on, and we will only grow better from it,” said senior co-captain Cindy McPeak.
The weekend’s home tournament will present the Bears with some strong opponents.
“Although the Midwest Invitational won’t include the quality of competition that will participate in the National Invitational and the Teri Clemens Invitational, the teams will be strong teams,” said Luenemann.
“Southwestern and Illinois Wesleyan will both be nationally ranked before the season ends, and Fontbonne won their conference and advanced to the NCAA III playoffs the last two years. Millikin has a new coach who’s very dynamic. They’ll be an improved squad.”
The Bears are working hard in practice this week in preparation for the upcoming tournament.
“We’ll focus on three phases of our game this week in practice: our passing in serve receive, our blocking, and our setting,” said Luenemann. “I anticipate we’ll see a marked improvement in those areas at the Midwest Invitational.”
“From a player’s standpoint, we certainly need to preserve a game-like intensity in practices, which is often difficult,” said junior Ishi Ballew.
Hopefully their hard work and home court advantage will prove to be a recipe for success.
“We hope to play well in the Field House,” said Luenemann. “A large crowd would be a boost. We didn’t lose at home last season, and we’d like to maintain that string this season too.”
The players enjoy playing at home because of the wonderful crowd support.
“It’s so great to play on our home court,” said Pfeiffer. “The fans really add to the energy level of the match, and that makes it easy to go all out on every play.”
The Bears are determined to come back from the loss to Elmhurst, and they know what needs to improve this week.
“To be successful this weekend we’ll need to enhance our blocking, passing, and setting,” said Luenemann. “The Bears always play hard, so effort isn’t a concern, but we need to improve in certain areas to compete at our optimal level.”
The players maintain a positive attitude and look forward to this weekend’s tournament as a chance to prove themselves again.
“I think confidence, focus, and execution of skill will allow us to beat anyone we play against,” said junior Colleen Winter.
Popularity: unranked [?]