Volleyball faces top in conference post-season

Volleyball must survive pool play to advance to semifinals


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After finishing the season on an 11-game win streak, Loyola will have to stay hot as they face conference leader Spring Hill in the Southern States Athletic Conference Tournament.

Spring Hill (28-4, 14-0) defeated Loyola (26-7, 7-7) in five sets both times the teams played each other during the regular season. But Head Coach Tommy Harold, who said he doesn’t like to make major changes in his strategy from match to match, said that wins will come if the team executes.

“We don’t spend time talking about wins and losses,” Harold said in a post-game press conference after the team’s last home game against Belhaven University. “We know when we improve over the course of a season, a month, a week or a practice. If we can continue that improvement, the wins and losses take care of themselves.”

To go along with their perfect in conference record, Spring Hill was also ranked 18th in the NAIA in blocks per game with 2.3 ranked 17th with a hitting percentage of .254. The Lady Badgers, along with #9 Lee University, are the only teams in the SSAC currently receiving votes in the national coaches poll.

In addition to a challenging opening match of the tournament, Loyola will have to face Brenau University in a second match that day as part of pool play. After the conclusion of pool matches, the tournament then moves to a more straight forward single elimination style.

Brenau (19-10, 7-7) is another team that gave The Pack trouble in the regular season as they lost their Sep. 14 match-up in four sets. But Harold said that his team has a better understanding of how to work together.

“Individually and collectively, I think we have improved in all phases of the game,” he said. “Perhaps the biggest difference from the start of the year to now is a clearer understand of expectations on the court within our system of play.”

Brenau, like Loyola, went .500 in conference play but is ranked one spot ahead of Loyola in the standings as the sixth seed.

Despite the challenge of playing two games in a day against SSAC teams who defeated them early in the year, Harold thinks a team effort can move them into the next round.

“I think all of our players will have to step up and embrace their roles,” he said “No one player can carry us. We need all 15 players to do their jobs.”

Hasani Grayson can be reached at [email protected]


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