Indiana Volleyball will face Western Christian University, North Carolina State University and Texas Christian University this weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina.
The Hoosiers enter their third week of the season with a 4-2 record. Indiana has gone 2-1 in both tournaments so far, allowing this week to be the first possible outing to achieve a clean sweep. Here are three things to watch as the Hoosiers take on three different teams at William Neal Reynolds Coliseum.
Volleyball places a strong emphasis on working together with others, and it’s vital for the Hoosiers to compete as a team to maximize their chances of winning sets. Indiana recognizes the importance of teamwork, sophomore setter Camryn Haworth said at the Indiana Invitational press conference.
“We’re still working on gelling – getting everyone to play for each other,” Haworth said. “I think that will probably be the key to our season.”
Last weekend at the Islanders Classic, Indiana lost to Southern Methodist University in three sets, with only two Hoosiers scoring seven or more runs. Sophomore outside hitter Maddy Saris had 12 wins while the second-most wins was a three-of-four tie for sophomore setter Camryn Haworth, junior middle tackle Savannah Kjolhede and junior outside hitter Morgan Geddes .
[Related: Indiana volleyball finishes Islander Classic with 2-1 record]
However, Indiana Volleyball defeated Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi three sets to zero on September 3. There were six Hoosiers with seven or more points, highlighted by Saris’ 12 points. Additionally, there were three players with seven or more eliminations, compared to the only one in the SMU game.
So far this season, the Hoosiers have seen success when multiple teammates are involved offensively.
In volleyball, it is common for the opponent to find their momentum and score in batches, so it can be extremely difficult to interrupt a team’s rhythm. Indiana faced that firsthand in their matchup with SMU. Against the Mustangs, the Hoosiers allowed two 3-0 runs late in the second set, the second of which gave the Mustangs the set win.
Two of the teams Indiana faces this weekend will likely draw large crowds of opposing fans. It’s vital for Indiana not to feel threatened by opposing crowds, but motivated to win on someone else’s court.
The first team Indiana will face this week is West Carolina. The Catamounts are 5-2, including an impressive five-set victory over Wake Forest University. Fifth-year outside hitter Merry Gebel leads the teams with 78 kills so far this season.
[Related: Indiana’s volleyball season begins despite unanswered questions about Steve Aird]
On Thursday night, Indiana will take on NC State in Wolfpack Arena. This is head coach Luka Slabe’s third season with NC State, and he currently holds a 20-15 record with the team. In terms of personnel, outside leadoff hitter Ava Brizard won the Atlantic Coastal Conference Rookie of the Week in honor of an impressive performance in the NC State Classic.
Texas Christian University will be the Hoosiers’ final challenge of the week. While the Horned Frogs are only 1-4, they’ve faced two of the top five teams – no. 6 University of Wisconsin-Madison and no. 3 University of Minnesota. Senior outside forward Julia Adams is an active contributor to the team with a total of 67 kills for this season.
Indiana will need to play as a united, focused, and motivated team to succeed on their East Coast road trip.