The Maroon

Volleyball team looks to finish strong

Brian Wollitz

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With only conference play remaining this season, the Loyola volleyball team looks to build upon recent success in hopes of reaching the Southern States Athletic Conference championship.

At a record of 12-15 overall and 6-6 in conference play, the Wolf Pack remain contenders in the conference, sitting in fifth place with 10 games remaining in their schedule before the championship begins in November. The Wolf Pack have overcome early-season struggles to find recent success, achieving a record of 6-4 in their last 10 games.

Angela Franke, head coach of the volleyball team, attributes this success with the work and improvement she sees from her players every day since the beginning of the season.

“I think the girls are finally realizing that all their hard work is paying off, so they’re working really well together as a team,” Franke said.

At this point in the season, Franke believes that the team chemistry they have developed is helping them close out games in crucial moments, while giving them confidence to compete against the best teams in the conference.

“We’re finishing games, [and] we’re fighting back when we do get down,” Franke said. “The girls are really rallying and they’re not giving up. I think that that’s where we’re at, at this point, that they see the possibilities and they’re excited for these big teams with University of Mobile and Coastal Georgia coming up to really show how hard they’ve worked.”

Maddie Huekels, education sophomore, sees the team’s chemistry as a foundation of strength the team can rely on.

“I think this year, definitely, chemistry is in our favor; I think we started off right from the start. We blended well. We brought in seven freshmen and it didn’t take them long to get acclimated to us, and I think this year more than ever we have so much potential,” Huekels said.

This potential and depth that additional players provide help boost a roster that Huekels thinks makes the team well-rounded.

“Our hitting is on and our passing is on and our setting is on, and we’re not just a defensive team… I think that’s a really big strength for us at this point, that we’re an all around team,” Huekels said.

Katie Philippi, psychology senior, believes that the team is just beginning to hit their stride after overcoming some bumps in the road earlier in the season.

“With anybody or any group of friends or team, as you play together, you get to know each other a little bit better every single day. So, I think that we are doing a great job of learning each others’ strengths and weaknesses and building off each other,” Phillipi said.

As a senior and a leader on the team, Phillippi believes the Wolf Pack have the skill and work ethic to compete for a conference championship, but have to stay committed to their goals while holding each other accountable.

“Our team’s working on it every day to hold each other and ourselves accountable for any mistakes we make and any errors or anything that we can improve upon. As long as we continue to do that, then I think we’re just going to keep getting better and better, so that conference ring is definitely in reach,” Phillipi said.

Huekels cites consistency as another thing the Wolf Pack can improve upon in order to take the next step of obtaining a conference title.

“I just want to be the team that I know we can [be], like the way that we have been playing these last few games, and to go out with a conference ring, because who doesn’t want that? Next year’s not guaranteed that we’re going to keep getting better, so we need to take advantage of this right now,” Huekels said.

Philippi views the remaining games as an opportunity to leave a lasting footprint on the program for years to come.

“I’m just trying to leave a legacy; I want to get a conference ring, I want to win the conference tournament, and I know we can do it. I know our team is the best it’s been in years. It’s the best its been since I’ve seen it, since I’ve been here, and I think that we can make it happen. I’m ready,” Philippi said.

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About the Writer
Brian Wollitz, Sports Editor
Brian Wollitz is a junior at Loyola studying mass communication with a focus in journalism and a minor in music industry studies. Outside of the Maroon, Brian plays rugby for Loyola as well as playing keyboards and singing in his band Tight Squeeze, back home in Pacifica, California. Contact: [email protected] or @brian_wollitz
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Volleyball team looks to finish strong