After four-straight matches on the road, Indiana volleyball will play two games at home in Wilkinson Hall this week. Indiana will play Michigan at 7 p.m. Wednesday and Rutgers at 2 p.m. Sunday
Indiana is the only team in the Big Ten to have four Wednesday matches this season, head coach Steve Aird said at a press conference Tuesday, leaving them only one day to practice before their following opponent.
Indiana got back from its Minnesota match around 9 p.m. on Sunday, had a light training session Monday and practiced Tuesday. Aird said although the team is tired, he felt good about the training Tuesday.
“I’d love to have a Monday through Thursday to train like a lot of the other programs have,” Aird said. “The schedule just hasn’t allowed it. For now, I'm trying my best to really stay clean with one or two things to work on and I think we have a pretty good game plan going into tomorrow against a really good team.”
Related: Indiana volleyball drops matches against Nebraska, Minnesota
Michigan is currently 4-4 in the conference and 11-6 overall this season. Indiana has lost its last three matches against Michigan, all three being away games.
“Michigan is a different challenge,” Aird said. “They beat Minnesota at home and I think they’ve got three of the better pin hitters in the conference.”
Aird said the Hoosiers have to put pressure on them from the endline when competing against tough competition, but he doesn't want their pressure to cause too many errors. Aird said he was OK with committing more errors on the road at Nebraska, but they should have the serve and pass advantage at home.
On Sunday, Indiana will take on Rutgers, which it beat 3-1 on Oct. 8 at home.
Senior Breana Edwards will fill one of the outside hitter positions for Indiana in the next two games, and Aird noted the advantage she has after playing in the Big Ten for three years now. The other outside hitter position will be filled by a much less experienced player, either freshman Mady Seris or sophomore Morgan Geddes.
“Morgan has come into matches and been very offensive,” Aird said “Morgan is still very high error so even though she's getting us a bunch of kills she's not hitting for great numbers.”
Seris has dealt with a hip flexor injury and had a tough past three matches. Aird said both players are capable but lack consistency, so this week he will roll with whoever performs better at the time.
“Mady is a far superior ball handler,” Aird said.” She is a really good passer and she's better defensively and we need that to be able to run the offense.”
Defensive specialist sophomore Isa Lopez has not played all year due to a shoulder injury, but is now starting to feel better and may return to the court. Aird said last week was the first time all year the whole roster was healthy, so he’s excited to play this week.