Women's Volleyball

Women’s volleyball head into second half of season hoping for conference championship run

Sophomore outside hitter Morgan Reardon leads the team in kills with 223 so far this season. Photo courtesy of Steve Woltman.

Heading into the second half of the 2014 season, Loyola women’s volleyball is 6-8 overall and 2-3 against Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) opponents.

But numbers aren’t the focus for Head Coach Chris Muskat, who says it’s about closing the gap on the competition and getting better every day.

To their advantage, the Ramblers returned everyone from last year’s roster. Muskat said the team is much better this year, thanks to a skilled freshman setter and a large junior class.

Freshman standout Caroline Holt has taken over the team’s setting duties, leading the team with 521 assists so far this season.

The team’s six juniors include hitters Kelly Feigh and Kathleen Vogel and libero Stephanie Kinan, who have played in every set so far this season.

The amount of upperclassmen on the team is a strength, providing both leadership and maturity.

This leadership has added to the team’s mental and physical growth, which is necessary because the team has to go into every match with the mindset that it is going to be tough, according to Muskat.

“I’ve been impressed with our resiliency,” he said.

Having teammates working toward the same goal competing in the conference tournament helps her to stay accountable and focused throughout the season, said senior middle blocker Libby Bresser.

“Seeing my teammates work hard motivates me to work hard for them,” Bresser said.

She said the team has gotten better every day and plans to keep looking forward to see where they will finish this season.

“The fight that we have in us is one of our biggest strengths,” she said.

Last season ended with heartbreak for the Ramblers as they battled and lost the final championship tournament spot after losing in five sets against Northern Iowa.

Vogel said that this memory is motivating the team and that not one practice goes by without thinking about how last season ended.

“The fact that we’re so much closer than we were last year is exciting for everybody,” Vogel said.

Early conference matchups weren’t completely successful, but Vogel said it’s exciting to get two chances to play every team, either at home or on the road.

“We definitely have the ability,” she said of the team’s qualifying for the tournament.

So far this year, the team is on par with last season, when the team had a record of 6-8 on Oct. 8.

Key matches have included a 3-2 win against Virginia at the Wildcat Challenge on Sept. 12 and another 3-2 win against Drake on Sept. 20 to put their first conference win on the board while in Des Moines.

Sophomore Morgan Reardon leads the team in kills with 223 as of Oct. 4. Maureen Carls and Sami Hansen follow with 107 and 91, respectively.

Last year the women were 7-11 in the MVC, and this year they are currently 2-3 with 13 conference games left on the schedule.

The Ramblers are scheduled to play next on Oct. 10 against Indiana State University at Gentile Arena.

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