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Sunday, May 26
The Indiana Daily Student

sports volleyball

IU set for road tests at Iowa, Minnesota

With the Big Ten season well under way, the IU volleyball team is prepared to take on Minnesota and Iowa on the road this weekend.

The Hoosiers’ win against Michigan State last weekend gave the team the confidence boost necessary to help them against Minnesota on Friday and Iowa on Saturday.

Junior outside hitter Kelsey Hall put on a spectacular performance last weekend, throwing herself into the crowd for balls and contributing a great deal to the success of the team’s defense. Hall thought the win was a big boost now that the team beat a squad that was previously undefeated in conference, and she’s hoping that they can notch two more wins this weekend.

Sophomore defensive specialist Hayley Koetter also showed her skills on the court, racking up a total of 26 assists, the highest number of assists scored by any Hoosier that night. Freshman setter Mary Chaudoin added 18 as well, playing a crucial role in the success of the team’s offense.

The team won the match 3-1, losing the second set 23-25. Sophomore outside hitter Taylor Wittmer said she thought they went into the second set too confident, which ended up hurting them, but the Hoosiers quickly regained their confidence and pulled through two more set wins.

The team had another strong week of practice, tweaking their offense and defense to cater to the styles of Minnesota and Iowa.

“We’ve been running inside and outside attacks,” IU coach Sherry Dunbar said. “They’re a great defensive team, so we’re focusing on having to fight for every point, and we have to keep staying aggressive and thinking about playing in a different environment that’s different from being at home.

“When you’re on the floor, you have to stay within the team and stay in the moment.”

Each player has a special responsibility this weekend that goes beyond what their normal position requires of them. Freshman middle blocker Lexie Woodson said she has been told this week to focus on certain strategies, especially against Iowa.

“I have to watch the setter’s hand, because I can get psyched out sometimes, and I’m trying to stay with the middle,” Woodson said. “I need to stay off the net, keep watching the pass and keep pressing over the net a lot.”

The team has also been concentrating on their film, looking at their hitters and blocking schemes, Hall said.

If there is one word to describe what the team feels about playing Big Ten teams, it would be “exciting.” 

“Knowing every night that you’re playing a top-10 team match is really exciting, “ Hall said. “Every match that we look at is taking us one step closer to our goal. Beating them is one step closer to our goal, and overall we want to win, and I think we can with everyone being so excited and energized.”

On the other hand, being a part of the Big Ten conference can also be a challenge, and players recognize that there are major differences between the start of their season and their Big Ten season.

“It’s very challenging, because when we started, it was just another match,” Woodson said. “Now that we’re Big Ten, it’s a bigger, faster match.”

Woodson said she remembers watching Penn State as a senior in high school and being wowed by their skills. She said she feels like she can have that same effect if she puts her whole heart and mind into the game.

As a coach, Dunbar also said she notices that the intensity during practice has perhaps changed from just being focused to being Big Ten-focused.

“It’s definitely a different focus, so I think now that we’re in the Big Ten play, we can see the competition,” Dunbar said. “We played a lot of ranked teams already. We know where we stand.

“I think we’ve gotten closer and closer every match and then beat Michigan State, so I think we’re getting closer to seeing what our potential is.”

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