Volleyball team aims for gameplay consistency

Tulane+junior+middle+blocker+Sarah+Strasner+jumps+to+spike+ball+in+a+3-2+loss+against+Houston+as+redshirt+freshman+middle+blocker+Chenelle+Walker+attempts+to+block+the+hit.%C2%A0

Tulane junior middle blocker Sarah Strasner jumps to spike ball in a 3-2 loss against Houston as redshirt freshman middle blocker Chenelle Walker attempts to block the hit. 

Samantha Shafia, Associate Sports Editor

Just points away from winning the past couple of games, the women’s volleyball team is trying to find the power it needs to move past the 2-3 threshold and onto the side of victory.

The Tulane Volleyball (7-13, 1-7 American Athletic Conference) team has fought hard to compete for each five-game match. Though the record shows a lack of success, the players exemplify dedication and skill by never losing one of these games by more than six points.

“We’re not just getting crushed by these teams,” redshirt sophomore right side hitter Sarah Ray said. “I think it’s just consistency throughout the match and just fixing the small things.”

As the Tulane volleyball team progresses through those five sets, the players make a point of constantly focusing on the next point.

“Since it is going [on] so long, you really have to remember that you’re going to have your mistakes and they’re going to get their kills,” freshman libero Lisa Morrell said. “So, you just have to be like shake it off for the next one because it’s going to be a long haul.”

During the lost matches, Tulane struggled with allowing the opposing teams to win three- to five-point runs that meant the difference between winning and losing.

“We tend to get lost in runs on the court which will cause people to give up three points in a row, and that’s what kills us,” Morrell said.

To become more unpredictable, the team changed its offense from a 5-1 to a 6-2. With this rotation, there are now three available hitters and two setters at all times which gives the offense a better chance at attacking the ball.

“I think that we have more opportunities to run cross plays on free balls and quicker sets all the way around because we have all three hitters there already,” junior setter Ally Frank said. “I think that we can quicken up our offense and that will give us a better advantage against other teams.”

This rotation strategy accentuates one of the team’s strong qualities: height.

“I think that offensively we have big hitters,” head coach Sinisa Momic said. “A 6-2 is a system that allows you to always have three hitters front row.”

The team makes a point of focusing on other areas that need improvement, stressing improvement on beginning passes so the Green Wave’s hitting weapons can hammer down the volleyballs and get more kills.

“To get the third contact you need to get the first and the second at a higher level to make the third one a lot better,” Momic said.

Beyond technical fixes, the team needs to lock in a winning mentality to start finding success in conference match-ups.

“We’re definitely, working towards … having a consistent energy level throughout the matches,” Sarah Ray said. “I think that we can always improve that because … volleyball is a very mental game, so if you’re letting yourself affect your head then it’s going to affect your game.”

The Wave returns home to take on USF 7 p.m. Oct. 30, where the team hopes these subtle but meaningful improvements will tilt the results in its favor.

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