Knox’s volleyball team (2-8) has won one match on the road and one at home so far this season.
There are seven home matches and 12 away from Memorial Gymnasium still to come.
Third-year head coach Kim Schrader does not think that traveling will affect the team. However, she admits that playing at home is a plus.
“Playing at home is an added bonus because you have fans in the crowd and more noise and support of the good things that you do,” she said. “It is a lot more enjoyable. We would love to have a large crowd, a large boisterous crowd.”
Panthers to invade Memorial Gym
Today, Knox faces the Panthers of Principia College on Tim Heimann Court inside Memorial Gym at 7 p.m.
On Saturday, Knox hosts the Panthers of Greenville College, which is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.
Schrader hopes her team is ready to play both games once the whistle blows and that fans get to the gym.
“We have two single game matches, so we have to be ready to play when the whistle blows at the beginning of the first set. We don’t have two matches to get warm,” she said. “We hope for a good home crowd. We hope for some additional energy and enthusiasm from being able to be at home. Get a lead early and sustain that.”
In order to get an early lead and sustain it, the Prairie Fire need to take advantage of the opportunities they are given.
“Overall, it is really a combined effort of having people step up and score,” Schrader said. “That is probably our biggest battle right now. We are letting other teams hang around in the flow of the game. We are not able to convert opportunities into points often enough.”
Last Saturday, the Prairie Fire traveled to Dubuque, Iowa to face the Crusaders of Clarke College and the Eagles of Edgewood College. They came away with two losses.
“We lacked intensity in the Clarke match,” said Schrader, whose team lost to the Crusaders in three sets: 25-16, 25-13 and 25-9. “We have started slowly the last couple of games. We started slow against Clarke and didn’t play very well. We came back and played much better the second match (versus Edgewood).”
Errors played a part in the loss to the Eagles, who defeated the Prairie Fire in four sets: 26-24, 23-25, 25-18 and 31-29.
“In a close match like the match with Edgewood, with the exception of one set, every match was a two-point set,” Schrader said. “The errors there are more critical. When you don’t score a lot of points the errors hurt you, but they are not critical.”
First two home matches
On Tuesday, September 8, the Prairie Fire played their first two home matches of the season in a triangular with the Lincoln Christian University Red Lions and the MacMurray College Highlanders.
In the first match, Knox lost to the Red Lions in three straight sets by scores of 25-19, 25-18, and 25-18.
The Prairie Fire won their match against the Highlanders with scores of 25-15, 25-15 and 25-10.
“We made less errors and we played with more intensity in the second match,” Schrader said. “I felt like we lacked collective intensity in the first match. I think there were a few people that were intense, but I didn’t feel like we had it as a team.”