Sports / The Prairie Fire / September 24, 2009

Three wins needed to better last year’s mark

The Prairie Fire volleyball team (2-10) is three wins away from having more wins than last season’s 4-15 mark.
Friday and Saturday the team will participate in the Kohawk Invite, a tournament hosted by Coe College, located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which provides them with the opportunity to come back to Galesburg with a 6-10 overall record.
“I’m looking forward to it,” volleyball head coach Kim Schrader said of the tournament. “We have conditioned ourselves to be able to play two matches in a day. We are not very deep, but I feel like we are in good shape physically. It’s an opportunity for us to make the numbers in the win-loss column look a little better.
“We have two wins and the third seems to be a bit elusive. Each time you win, the memory gets burned in a little deeper and it gets a little easier to win.”
In order to get their elusive third win, the team needs to have confidence.
“Being a senior, I tell the girls to be confident,” senior Christina Davis said. “That is the best thing. If you’re not confident and the other team can feel it, can see it, then they are going to put it down your throats. Be confident no matter what, even if you don’t think you can do it ­— get up there and try it. There is no hurt in trying.”

Panthers invaded Memorial
Last Thursday, the Panthers of Principia College came to town and defeated the Prairie Fire in four sets: 25-21, 24-26, 25-16 and 25-17.
“We were so close. I thought we played hard,” Schrader said after the match. “I thought we were pretty evenly matched with our opponent. I felt like we made more aggressive choices, which is what we have been working on. I have not looked at the stats yet, but game two, our serving was dismal. We missed six serves but we still came back and won the game, which was good for us. Other than that, I feel like our unforced errors were down, which is a thing we are working on.”
In the match versus Principia, Schrader used seven time outs. After each one, the team went on runs. During the timeouts, Schrader said she had a simple message.
“Play one point at a time,” she said. “A set is 25 points but you earn one point at a time. Honestly, the score does not matter until the end.”
Last Saturday afternoon, the Greenville College Panthers came to campus and walked out of Memorial Gymnasium with a win.
“I’m disappointed that we worked as hard as we did and couldn’t win. It always feels better when you win,” said Schrader, whose team lost to the Panthers in three sets: 25-23, 25-17 and 25-18. “We were very competitive, very aggressive, very good the first set. We didn’t make a lot of mistakes. We moved well, reacted well, fought hard and ended up losing a close set. We just didn’t recover very well. We stayed competitive but we didn’t stay as aggressive after that.”

Nothing but love
No matter what, the members of the Prairie Fire volleyball team love and support each other.
“I love my team,” Davis said. “They are very supportive. We support each other. That’s what I like the most. Even if we are down, we try to do everything to get each other up. I think that is what a team is about and I think we are a team. We are an example of a good team.”
The team has each other’s backs, added another element last Saturday, works their tails off and continues to get better.
“[Freshman] Jordan Durrett was injured early in the season. She played more on Saturday. Her full-strength return adds an extra dimension,” Schrader said. “The bottom line is we continue to improve. We will continue to play hard. We have continued to play hard.
“I believe we have a chance to win every time we step on the court. We are talented, bright student-athletes in a game that’s team-oriented and that gives us the personnel and potential to compete with anyone.”

Matthew Wheaton


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