The Texas State volleyball team lost their home Sun Belt Conference opener (26-24, 19-25, 25-21, 22-25, 15-11) against the James Madison Dukes Friday evening at Strahan Arena.
The Bobcats fall to 10-5 (2-1) while the Dukes improve to 9-3 (3-0).
The Bobcats got down early in the first set, but they started to rally. After the Dukes went up 21-15, the Bobcats responded with a 9-1 run to take the lead 24-23. But it wasn’t enough as the Dukes would take the first set 26-24 to start the match.
The second set was even 10-10 until the Bobcats went on a 3-0 run and the Dukes couldn’t respond back in time. The set continued to go back and forth from the three-point Bobcat lead until they pulled away, winning the set 25-19.
This game was as back and forth as it could get and Sean Huiet, Head Coach for the Bobcats volleyball, loved his team’s fight.
“I liked our composure to get it to the fifth set. We were wavering there a bit,” Huiet said. “So, I liked how we got to the fifth set, just frustrated with the loss.”
Much like the first two sets, the third set was close. Both teams were battling, trying to get an edge anywhere they could. It would be the Dukes who found that edge first and they won the third set 25-21.
This match was far from over though. The Bobcats continued to fight and give themselves a chance at winning this game. The trend of this game was the first team to get going, usually won the set. The fourth set was all Bobcats from the start and they won 25-22 to push the game to the fifth and final set.
But the Bobcats couldn’t build off that fourth set and would eventually go on to lose the fifth 15-11 and get their first loss in Sun Belt Conference play. The Bobcats were inconsistent at times and Huiet wants to fix that.
“The people we need to count on, we need to be able to count on them night in and night out,” Huiet said, “Maybe you have one night off, not every other match. That’s where we’re finding right now that we are a little too inconsistent. And we have an older group so that’s probably the most frustrating part.”
Caitlan Buettner led the Bobcats in kills this evening with 19 followed by Janell Fitzgerald with 17. The Bobcats don’t have time to dwell on this loss as they will be playing James Madison again at noon on Saturday, October 1st. Huiet wants his team to slow down the ball to have more success going forward into the next game.
“We have to slow down their outsides. We knew that going in,” Huiet said. “We tried to change our defense a little bit so we will watch film tonight and see what we can do to slow the outsides down a little bit more than we did tonight.”
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