Saluki Volleyball finding its stride as season passes midway point
October 21, 2022
Bringing home more wins so far this season than the past two combined, Saluki volleyball players have kept their eyes on the conference tournament.
Junior outside hitter Bailey Neuberger said the team came into this season with a lot more confidence.
“Getting some wins under our belt and knowing that we can win helped us a lot, mentally we’re in a much better place knowing this,” she said.
The Salukis have created a tremendous turn around this season, and some of this can be credited to a young freshmen core that have outperformed expectations. Players like Ceci Bulmahn have turned from just getting playing experience, so being an everyday starter.
“The freshmen bring a lot of consistency to the team, Ceci is a consistent player that we can count on for both her ball control and getting a few kills per set,” Neuberger said.
While the team is now entering the second half of play and getting excited about the possibility of a conference tournament appearance, taking the season one game at a time is part of what all of Saluki athletics tries to do with their teams and it seems to be helping.
The improvement within the team has helped them earn the most wins through 20 games since the 2016 season, which was also their last MVC tournament appearance. The Dawgs posted a 21-12 overall record that year, with a 12-6 MVC record.
“The connection between the team and how we play together is getting so much better,” said senior outside hitter, Nataly Garcia.
And that connection plays into their end game as well.
“We’re just trying to make it…to the conference tournament, so that right there is the ultimate goal,” Garcia said.
The women’s volleyball regular season runs until November 16, but the team is planning to be on the court postseason as well. With 9 games left on the schedule, all will tell about the teams postseason expectations with an exciting finish to be played.
The Dawgs still have to play fifth and fourth place teams UIC and Valparaiso this upcoming weekend to finish their long 5-game homestand, take two road trips to Bradley and Illinois State, host Indiana State and Evansville, and finish out the year with three straight road games against #1 UNI, #2 Drake, and Missouri State.
No matter what happens with this team by the end of the year, there’s been huge strides of improvement all around, with a very encouraging future ahead of them.
Sports reporter Joei Younker can be reached at [email protected].
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