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Season ends for volleyball

By Nikhilesh Chhetri
On November 13, 2017

Junior libero Lexie Torres led the team in digs in the last two matches of the season. She recorded 12 digs against the University of New Orleans and followed it with 15 digs against Houston Baptist University. File Photo/The Lion's Roar 

The Lady Lions volleyball team had a disappointing week with two losses to end their season. The overall record for the season was 3-27, and the Southland Conference record was 1-15.

They played the first game against the University of New Orleans where they lost 3-1.

Redshirt sophomore right side Elyssa Purcell had the most kills for the Lady Lions with nine and was followed by sophomore middle blocker Savannah Alcazar who had 8 kills. Junior setter Haley Baker had the most assists for the Lady Lions with 18 while freshman setter Michelle Mirarchi was right behind her with 15 assists. On the defensive side, Alcazar and freshman defensive specialist Lexie Torres led the team with 12 digs each.

Head Coach Jim Smoot believed that the loss was due to inconsistent performance.

“We started off pretty well, but again we couldn’t maintain it,” said Smoot. “Passing broke down, which seems to be what occurred in the past couple of matches, but at times, we played really, really well. We just weren’t consistent.”

Smoot noted that there were no improvements in the game from the previous one.

“No, I think there’s this kind of performance that’s just consistent throughout the team,” said Smoot. “We’ve got to work on our serving because it was not precise, and it took a hit on our offense.”

The team travelled to Houston, Texas, for their second game against Houston Baptist University. The game ended with a 3-1 loss for the volleyball team.

Freshman middle Sam Gomez led the team offensively with 10 kills against Houston Baptist. The hitters were assisted by Baker with a team-high 22 assists and Mirarchi laid another 12 assists for the team. Torres led on the defensive front with 15 digs, and Alcazar saved the ball another 13 times.

Smoot gave his comments on the last game of the season.

“We started off pretty strong,” said Smoot. “You know, winning the first set, we were winning largely, but then we let them come back a bit. In the second set, we weren’t real sharp. We had a lot of opportunities in the third set, but unfortunately we didn’t capitalize on it. I think it’s the same thing. We were real good in certain elements. Our attack was good, serving was good, et cetera. But then at times our passing was less precise where needed, and we couldn’t run our offense effectively and therefore in the end it was really easy for them to get our defense.”

With the end of the season, Smoot provided the overall evaluation of the season.

“Well, it was obviously as successful as we were anticipating,” said Smoot. “It was a rough couple of months, but I think at times, especially at the end we showed that we can play with the best teams of the conference. It’s just the consistency that we have to work on. I think the main thing is I am really proud of the girls staying positive and working hard through a difficult time.”

Gomez shared how she felt about playing her first season.

“I would say, it was a rocky season, especially because we are so young,” said Gomez. “I would say that we grew a lot, and next year would be definitely different. I am really happy that the team was so close even with everything going on.”

The players knew mid-season that they wouldn’t qualify for the conference tournament. Torres explained if it had any significant effects on the players.

“I personally don’t think that it did, and all of the girls were trying the hardest,” said Torres. “Our motto was ‘We have nothing to lose,’ so we definitely played our best. And even though we knew we didn’t qualify, we wanted to have a better record for the next season.”

Smoot shared his thoughts on how he would like to start the upcoming season.

“Next season starts in spring, and we’ll come back to our spring training, said Smoot. “And we’re going to have to work really hard. We have to work on physical aspects, getting stronger. We have to work on our consistency with our skills. So, I think that’s gonna set up what can be a very successful season next year. We have a very young team. Even though I don’t like using that as the reason we were unsuccessful this year, but realistically that was a major factor, having no seniors. We have the skill and the agility, but we just have to be more consistent with it. I think we’ll be very successful next year.”

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