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Wednesday, May 22
The Indiana Daily Student

sports volleyball

Volleyball set to host TIS Bookstore Invitational

With three matches on tap this weekend for the IU volleyball team, there is still one main goal in mind: Make it to the NCAA Tournament. The team goal is to “fight for 12,” meaning the month of December when the tournament begins.

“We’re trying to win most of our conference games to qualify ourselves for the tournament,” said freshman setter Mary Chaudoin.

IU coach Sherry Dunbar echoed that sentiment, saying she hopes her team can use the tough Big Ten season to ready itself for postseason play.

“We’re looking to improve before the Big Ten,” Dunbar said. “We open with the (top three) teams in the Big Ten, and we’re hoping to go 3-0.”

Last weekend, the team fought hard against Kentucky but couldn’t pull through. Although they started with complete confidence and focus through the first seven points, they seemed to slide early in the game.

Still, players’ focus didn’t waver in their rivalry game.

“Kentucky and IU have always had a big rivalry, “ said sophomore middle blocker Ashley Benson. “Growing up, my dad always told me that you always want to beat Kentucky.”

Throughout the season, Dunbar gives the team several goals before matches to keep the motivation and morale high – against Kentucky, they were to win the first set and fight hard throughout. Unfortunately, goal No. 1 couldn’t be accomplished as the Hoosiers dropped their first set on the way to a 3-1 defeat.

The Benson-Chaudoin duo shined through against Kentucky,  however, with Benson swinging a .500 average with 21 kills and Chaudoin notching 28 assists.

“It’s awesome as a setter to have (Benson), because if the set is not in the right place, she’ll still find a way to make a kill out of it,” Chaudoin said. 

Injury was added to insult after the loss against Kentucky, when freshman defensive specialist Caitlin Cox was dealt a concussion in Monday’s practice, and junior outside hitter Kelsey Hall is still battling an ankle sprain from two weeks ago.  
“I played in the Kentucky match, because it’s progressed really well,” Hall said. “I’m trying to get better by the Big Ten (season), so I’m limited at practice, and I’ll go to the side and practice with the trainer.”

Hall hasn’t been able to hit for the past two weeks but said the ankle injury won’t slow her down.  

IU was the dominant team against both Albany and Eastern Kentucky, shutting both opponents down and giving the team a confidence boost for its upcoming matches.

This weekend, the Hoosiers host the TIS Bookstore Invitational. They start at 12:20 p.m. Friday against George Mason, in-state foe Ball State at 7:30 p.m. the same day and Cincinnati at 3 p.m. Saturday.

Friday’s matches will be held at the University Gym, and Saturday’s matches will be held at Assembly Hall.

Several of the team members as well as the staff are looking forward to the match against Ball State. IU assistant coach Keith Schunzel and Dunbar both played for Ball State, while Cox’s brother played basketball and golf for the Cardinals, and her father was an athletic trainer.

“The Ball State game I’m really looking forward to,” Benson said. “I have a lot of friends that go there, and hopefully it’s going to be a building weekend where everyone gets better and fulfills everything we need to fulfill.”

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