Volleyball’s struggling season ends

Vic McDowell, The Circuit

Benedictine’s volleyball season ended on Tuesday, Nov. 3 with a 3-0 loss to Graceland.

A season marred by inconsistency, injuries and chemistry problems resulted in few wins.

The volleyball team took on Doane College on Sept. 11. Photo by Rosie McShane
The Lady Ravens finished the year winless in conference.

The struggles were attributed to Benedictine’s youth and inexperience.

“I believe we’re struggling with team chemistry right now,” said Camila Araujo, junior outside hitter. “We lost ten seniors that played all four years. So, it’s a brand new team. We’ve been working to get better with our chemistry the last few games.”

The Lady Ravens (10-19, 0-11 Heart) will lose three seniors to graduation from its current roster.

With a predominantly young team, the Lady Ravens look to use the disappointing season as motivation for next season.

“We are a very young team, and have gained a lot of experience,” said head coach Erin Cooper.

The youth coupled with injuries to expected contributors, such as sophomore Elise Fulcher and freshman Taylor Fortner, proved too much for the team to overcome.

“Next season, we’ll be over all our injuries; the team chemistry will be a lot better,” Araujo said.

Benedictine’s talent has been overshadowed by the inability to be consistent. A roster filled with underclassman contributors was not cohesive.

“Communication is apart of everything,” Araujo said. “Your teammates have to trust you, and sometimes we’re so into the game that we forget to speak or listen.”

The Lady Ravens fielded a competitive roster, but was unable to close out matches.

Benedictine was winless in the Heart of America, a disappointing and unexpected occurrence according to Cooper.

“The volleyball gods weren’t with us,” Cooper said. “I never expected us to be where we are right now.”

Cooper said her players match up athletically with most opponents, but the team’s problems were routed to lack of discipline. Cooper also said her players struggled to find the will to compete after being at the bottom of the barrel.

During the final stretch of the season, the Lady Ravens showed progression in some key areas, mainly passing.

“We have made improvements,” Cooper said. “Our passing has consistently gotten better down the stretch.”

Araujo is optimistic about the improving next season.

“Coach Cooper has been telling us to stay focused,” she said. “We just have to take it point-by-point, game-by-game, day-by-day to build chemistry, discipline and focus.”