Sports / The Prairie Fire / October 8, 2009

‘Every match matters’ for volleyball team

Knox’s volleyball team is 3-18 overall and 0-3 in Midwest Conference (MWC) play and their head coach, Kim Schrader, knows what the team needs to do to get some more wins besides staying healthy.

“We need to block better,” Schrader said. “I still feel like the key for us is team play and everybody stepping up and doing what they are capable of doing. If we can all do that at the same time then we win.”

Lincoln trip

Yesterday, the Prairie Fire traveled to Lincoln, Ill. to face the Red Lions of Lincoln Christian University and sought revenge.

On Tuesday, Sept. 8, the Prairie Fire played their first home match of the season against the Red Lions and lost in three straight sets by scores of 19-25, 18-25 and 18-25.

Knox was not able to get revenge on the Red Lions yesterday losing by scores of 18-25, 17-25 and 22-25.

However, the team did get a chance to prepare for their two upcoming MWC games.

“Wednesday gives us a chance to prepare for conference play on Friday and Saturday but at this point every match matters,” Schrader said on Monday about the match with the Red Lions.

The Prairie Fire host Carroll University tomorrow at 7 p.m. and play host to the Red Hawks of Ripon College on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Wisconsin voyage

This past weekend, the Prairie Fire took a voyage to Wisconsin to play two MWC matches and a non-conference match. They came back to Illinois with three losses.

“It was tough to take the long road trip and disappointing to come home 0-3,” Schrader said. “It was a good experience and I think proved to us that we can compete with the top teams in the country.”

Last Friday, the team played the reigning MWC champion Green Knights of St. Norbert College in DePere, Wis. inside the Schuldes Sports Center and lost three straight sets: 12-25, 21-25 and 9-25.

“St. Norbert is the defending conference champions so we proved that we could play with the people that are at the top of the conference and hopefully came away confident about the things that we do well,” Schrader said. “It is getting later in the season but I believe that because we challenged St. Norbert that we are capable of beating everybody else on our schedule.”

After the match versus the Green Knights, Knox traveled 21 miles southwest to Appleton and rested up for their two matches the next day.

In their first match last Saturday, the Prairie Fire faced MWC foe Lawrence University and was defeated by the Vikings by scores of 23-25, 24-26 and 22-25.

In their second match, Knox faced the 14th-ranked Blugolds of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, who had a 14-3 overall record going into the match, and the Prairie Fire lost three straight: 15-25, 14-25 and 12-25.

“They were deeper than us. They are just a very good team,” Schrader said about the match versus the Blugolds. “We played them point for point until it got close to double digits and then they just managed to pull away.

“It was also our third match in two days and they played one match Friday night and then that was their first match on Saturday. So, they were a little fresher than we were.”

Last Saturday, the Blugolds may have been fresher and deeper than Knox but they had something in common with the Prairie Fire. They also lost to Lawrence.

In their second match of the day, the Blugolds lost three straight sets — 29-31, 19-25 and 20-25 — at the hands of the Vikings.

Matthew Wheaton

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