Women's Volleyball

Women’s Volleyball Hopes to Finish Strong

Hanako Maki | The PhoenixSenior outside hitter Gabi Maciagowski goes for a kill.

With less than two weeks left in the regular season, none of the 10 Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) women’s volleyball teams have established a strong grasp on their seed heading into the conference tournament.

The Loyola women’s volleyball team (12-16, 7-8) has three games left in the regular season and is ranked sixth in the conference.

But there’s still a chance for the Ramblers to get a higher seed before the tournament. Loyola is scheduled to face the University of Northern Iowa, Drake University and Bradley University, as the Ramblers try to close out the season on a strong note.

Two of Loyola’s remaining opponents — Drake and Bradley — are teams Loyola has already beaten this season, both of which are .500 or below in conference play. The Ramblers defeated Drake and Bradley in four sets each.

Although Loyola fell to Northern Iowa 3-2 on Oct. 15, there are some offensive strengths, such as service pressure, that head coach Chris Muscat said he feels the team can capitalize on in its second meeting against the Panthers.

“Our offense right now continues to put us in really good positions that keep us afloat while we figure out teams,” said Muscat.

This home stretch of the regular season is vital for the Ramblers, who could see their postseason hopes dashed. The team has already played a patchy season filled with inconsistencies on offense and defense.

Twice this season, Loyola pieced together three or more victories in a row. The first series of three consecutive wins occurred from Nov. 2 to Nov. 3, which followed a 0-3 start the squad’s season.

October was filled with ups and downs, as the Ramblers were unable to establish a rhythm or string together back-to-back wins. Although the Ramblers ended October with an even record, they only beat one team that had a winning record, Illinois State University, whom they beat twice.

Another measure working for the Ramblers is the play of their seniors, which has allowed the team to gel and perform better on offense, according to Muscat.

“It’s hard to put down in numbers what it is that they contributed to the success of the program and the culture itself,” said Muscat.

Senior outside hitter Morgan Reardon has had a big impact on the program in her four years at Loyola and has continued to be a leader for the squad this season. Reardon sits at third overall in the conference with 440.5 points and is ranked second for kills with 390 .

The Ramblers’ next match will be on Nov. 11 against Northern Iowa. Tournament play begins Nov. 24 and will be held in Cedar Falls, Iowa, at Northern Iowa University.

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