Volleyball digs in for season start

Kat Molloy, exercise physiology senior, spikes the ball in a loss to Arkansas Tech, 3-2, Saturday afternoon at D.L. Ligon Coliseum during the MSU Hampton Inn-vitational. Arkansas Tech handed the team its only loss and MSU went 3-1 overall at the tournament. The first Lone Star Conference game is against Tarleton State University the Friday at 5p.m. at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. On Saturday the team plays Angelo State University at noon and Harding University at 5:30p.m. at Ligon. Photo by Lauren Roberts

Kat Molloy, exercise physiology senior, spikes the ball in a loss to Arkansas Tech, 3-2, Saturday afternoon at D.L. Ligon Coliseum during the MSU Hampton Inn-vitational. Arkansas Tech handed the team its only loss and MSU went 3-1 overall at the tournament. The first Lone Star Conference game is against Tarleton State University the Friday at 5p.m. at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. On Saturday the team plays Angelo State University at noon and Harding University at 5:30p.m. at Ligon. Photo by Lauren Roberts

The volleyball team’s preseason ended Tuesday night with a 2-3 comeback win against Dallas Baptist University after losing the first two sets.

Stafford said, “I’m grateful for the Dallas Baptist game to iron out some kinks. It’s getting used to playing next to the person you are playing next to.”

With pre-season over, the team begins regular season play featuring nine returning players and seven freshmen and continues to get younger.

Venera Flores-Stafford, head volleyball coach, said, “We have two seniors that are playing at the moment but the bulk of the contributions are going to come from newcomers.”

Over the weekend the team played in its annual MSU Hampton Inn-vitational. The team won the first three games and dropped its final game against Arkansas Tech 3-2.

Stafford said, “We didn’t make the right decisions at key moments. They were a good team. You can’t make a whole bunch of errors. It’s about the team that is going to make the least amount errors and they made the least amount of errors.”

In the match against Arkansas Tech, MSU won the first two sets and looked like they were going to finish the tournament undefeated. Instead they lost the next two sets evening the score. MSU tied the final set at 14-14 but Arkansas senior outside hitter Emily Todd hit a kill shot and caused an error from MSU that ended the match.

Defensive specialist Madelyn Johnson, early childhood education sophomore, said, “When we were fighting back the thing that helped us the most was attitude we had towards it. We never gave up. The bench never gave up hope. We kept on fighting.”

Going 7-9 in conference play last year Johnson said the team fell into runts. The weekend tournament was a learning experience that the team can use for the upcoming season.

“They did a good job at keeping their composure and maintaining their intensity throughout the weekend,” Stafford said.

Staying positive and keeping communication high were some of the teams goals during the offseason. Johnson said the offseason was tougher than previous ones.

“This offseason we had to earn everything. We had different challenges set up. We had to earn our practice gear, we had to earn our jerseys, we had to earn our spot on the bus. That way pushed everyone harder,” Johnson said.

Lone Star Conference play begins 5 p.m. Friday against interstate rival Tarleton State University and continues Saturday against Angelo State at noon during the MSU Sports Showcase at D.L. Ligon Coliseum.

Making the team earn everything they had was a new change from the coaching staff.

“I’ve been coaching for 16 years and I’ve seen the kids change. From the iPhone to Facebook, Twitter, all these things. The kids are given a lot of stuff. If they can come in here and earn everything it would be that much more important and they would work a little bit harder.” Stafford said,”It made a difference since over the summer they worked harder. They came back in shape when for the last couple of years only a couple were in shape.”

The change upped the stakes and put down a foundation for a team that has to quickly overcome what little time they have to play together before the season opener.

“It’s difficult to come in for two weeks and turn around to play a game when they really don’t know each other,” Stafford said.

Stafford said the athletes she recruited already had some connections with each other. There were pockets of players that could meet and workout together.

 

Volleyball Schedule

2014 Hampton Inn-vitational

Bailee Larkin-McDowell, nursing freshman, hits the ball over the net in a loss to Arkansas Tech, 3-2, Saturday afternoon at D.L. Ligon Coliseum during the MSU Hampton Inn-vitational. Arkansas Tech handed the team its only loss and MSU went 3-1 overall at the tournament. The first Lone Star Conference game is against Tarleton State University the Friday at 5p.m. at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. On Saturday the team plays Angelo State University at noon and Harding University at 5:30p.m. at Ligon. Photo by Lauren Roberts
Bailee Larkin-McDowell, nursing freshman, hits the ball over the net in a loss to Arkansas Tech, 3-2, Saturday afternoon at D.L. Ligon Coliseum during the MSU Hampton Inn-vitational. Arkansas Tech handed the team its only loss and MSU went 3-1 overall at the tournament. The first Lone Star Conference game is against Tarleton State University the Friday at 5p.m. at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. On Saturday the team plays Angelo State University at noon and Harding University at 5:30p.m. at Ligon. Photo by Lauren Roberts
Nicole Marzik, accounting junior, passes in a loss to Arkansas Tech, 3-2, Saturday afternoon at D.L. Ligon Coliseum during the MSU Hampton Inn-vitational. Arkansas Tech handed the team its only loss and MSU went 3-1 overall at the tournament. The first Lone Star Conference game is against Tarleton State University the Friday at 5p.m. at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. On Saturday the team plays Angelo State University at noon and Harding University at 5:30p.m. at Ligon. Photo by Lauren Roberts
Nicole Marzik, accounting junior, passes in a loss to Arkansas Tech, 3-2, Saturday afternoon at D.L. Ligon Coliseum during the MSU Hampton Inn-vitational. Arkansas Tech handed the team its only loss and MSU went 3-1 overall at the tournament. The first Lone Star Conference game is against Tarleton State University the Friday at 5p.m. at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. On Saturday the team plays Angelo State University at noon and Harding University at 5:30p.m. at Ligon. Photo by Lauren Roberts
Madelyn Johnson, early shildhood education sophomore, serves in a loss to Arkansas Tech, 3-2, Saturday afternoon at D.L. Ligon Coliseum during the MSU Hampton Inn-vitational. Arkansas Tech handed the team its only loss and MSU went 3-1 overall at the tournament. The first Lone Star Conference game is against Tarleton State University the Friday at 5p.m. at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. On Saturday the team plays Angelo State University at noon and Harding University at 5:30p.m. at Ligon. Photo by Lauren Roberts
Madelyn Johnson, early shildhood education sophomore, serves in a loss to Arkansas Tech, 3-2, Saturday afternoon at D.L. Ligon Coliseum during the MSU Hampton Inn-vitational. Arkansas Tech handed the team its only loss and MSU went 3-1 overall at the tournament. The first Lone Star Conference game is against Tarleton State University the Friday at 5p.m. at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. On Saturday the team plays Angelo State University at noon and Harding University at 5:30p.m. at Ligon. Photo by Lauren Roberts
Meghan Bettis, undecided freshman, passes the ball in a loss to Arkansas Tech, 3-2, Saturday afternoon at D.L. Ligon Coliseum during the MSU Hampton Inn-vitational. Arkansas Tech handed the team its only loss and MSU went 3-1 overall at the tournament. The first Lone Star Conference game is against Tarleton State University the Friday at 5p.m. at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. On Saturday the team plays Angelo State University at noon and Harding University at 5:30p.m. at Ligon. Photo by Lauren Roberts
Meghan Bettis, undecided freshman, passes the ball in a loss to Arkansas Tech, 3-2, Saturday afternoon at D.L. Ligon Coliseum during the MSU Hampton Inn-vitational. Arkansas Tech handed the team its only loss and MSU went 3-1 overall at the tournament. The first Lone Star Conference game is against Tarleton State University the Friday at 5p.m. at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. On Saturday the team plays Angelo State University at noon and Harding University at 5:30p.m. at Ligon. Photo by Lauren Roberts
Sarah Garfield, special education sophomore, tips a ball over the net in a loss to Arkansas Tech, 3-2, Saturday afternoon at D.L. Ligon Coliseum during the MSU Hampton Inn-vitational. Arkansas Tech handed the team its only loss and MSU went 3-1 overall at the tournament. The first Lone Star Conference game is against Tarleton State University the Friday at 5p.m. at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. On Saturday the team plays Angelo State University at noon and Harding University at 5:30p.m. at Ligon. Photo by Lauren Roberts
Sarah Garfield, special education sophomore, tips a ball over the net in a loss to Arkansas Tech, 3-2, Saturday afternoon at D.L. Ligon Coliseum during the MSU Hampton Inn-vitational. Arkansas Tech handed the team its only loss and MSU went 3-1 overall at the tournament. The first Lone Star Conference game is against Tarleton State University the Friday at 5p.m. at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. On Saturday the team plays Angelo State University at noon and Harding University at 5:30p.m. at Ligon. Photo by Lauren Roberts
Kat Molloy, exercise physiology senior, celebrates with her teammates after winning a point in a loss to Arkansas Tech, 3-2, Saturday afternoon at D.L. Ligon Coliseum during the MSU Hampton Inn-vitational. Arkansas Tech handed the team its only loss and MSU went 3-1 overall at the tournament. The first Lone Star Conference game is against Tarleton State University the Friday at 5p.m. at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. On Saturday the team plays Angelo State University at noon and Harding University at 5:30p.m. at Ligon. Photo by Lauren Roberts
Kat Molloy, exercise physiology senior, celebrates with her teammates after winning a point in a loss to Arkansas Tech, 3-2, Saturday afternoon at D.L. Ligon Coliseum during the MSU Hampton Inn-vitational. Arkansas Tech handed the team its only loss and MSU went 3-1 overall at the tournament. The first Lone Star Conference game is against Tarleton State University the Friday at 5p.m. at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. On Saturday the team plays Angelo State University at noon and Harding University at 5:30p.m. at Ligon. Photo by Lauren Roberts
Sarah Garfield, special education sophomore, blocks a ball in a loss to Arkansas Tech, 3-2, Saturday afternoon at D.L. Ligon Coliseum during the MSU Hampton Inn-vitational. Arkansas Tech handed the team its only loss and MSU went 3-1 overall at the tournament. The first Lone Star Conference game is against Tarleton State University the Friday at 5p.m. at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. On Saturday the team plays Angelo State University at noon and Harding University at 5:30p.m. at Ligon. Photo by Lauren Roberts
Sarah Garfield, special education sophomore, blocks a ball in a loss to Arkansas Tech, 3-2, Saturday afternoon at D.L. Ligon Coliseum during the MSU Hampton Inn-vitational. Arkansas Tech handed the team its only loss and MSU went 3-1 overall at the tournament. The first Lone Star Conference game is against Tarleton State University the Friday at 5p.m. at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. On Saturday the team plays Angelo State University at noon and Harding University at 5:30p.m. at Ligon. Photo by Lauren Roberts
Kat Molloy, exercise physiology senior, spikes the ball in a loss to Arkansas Tech, 3-2, Saturday afternoon at D.L. Ligon Coliseum during the MSU Hampton Inn-vitational. Arkansas Tech handed the team its only loss and MSU went 3-1 overall at the tournament. The first Lone Star Conference game is against Tarleton State University the Friday at 5p.m. at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. On Saturday the team plays Angelo State University at noon and Harding University at 5:30p.m. at Ligon. Photo by Lauren Roberts
Kat Molloy, exercise physiology senior, spikes the ball in a loss to Arkansas Tech, 3-2, Saturday afternoon at D.L. Ligon Coliseum during the MSU Hampton Inn-vitational. Arkansas Tech handed the team its only loss and MSU went 3-1 overall at the tournament. The first Lone Star Conference game is against Tarleton State University the Friday at 5p.m. at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. On Saturday the team plays Angelo State University at noon and Harding University at 5:30p.m. at Ligon. Photo by Lauren Roberts