Volleyball stumbles after undefeated streak

The Lady Lions volleyball team (6-10, 0-4 SLC) was unable to pull off a Southland Conference win last week against the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles (12-2, 4-0 SLC), but they put up a strong fight.
Despite the team being high from walking away undefeated at the Tangi Tourism Lion Classic, the Lady Lions fought hard through a three-set match, 25-16, 25-23, 25-21, and ultimately added another loss to the board.
Head coach Jim Smoot was proud of the effort his team showed on the court.
“They performed well,” Smoot said. “We had some great, great plays and some real nice long ones too.”
He was also ready for whatever the Golden Eagles served up; the team is at the top of the conference and very experienced in strong serving.
“We’re trying to serve tougher for sure because they’re a very experienced team, so we tried to serve really tough against them,” Smoot said.
Before the match began, during warm-ups, freshman middle blocker Landry Bullock was injured after another team member accidently got in the way of her jump serve. Bullock sat out the first set, but was back in the game and Lion strong in the second set. She would not let her injured knee get in the way of helping her team.
“I was excited to get back out on the court though,” Bullock said. “I wanted to play this team so bad.”
Smoot was concerned for Bullock when she was out the first set, but he knew she would get back.
“She’s a rock,” he said.
Bullock walked away with seven kills and one total block, combined with freshman middle blocker Rachael Bunn. It was the team’s only block of the game.
Sophomore outside hitter Tiffany Thomas had seven kills as well. Though Smoot feels the offense is in need of some tweaking before his Lady Lions play McNesse State on Thursday, sophomore setter Mikayla Shippy kept the offense afloat with 25 assists. Sophomore defensive specialist Morgan Todd led the team with 17 digs.
Since 2009, Lady Lion volleyball has won twice and lost twice against McNesse. The conference rivals currently sit 10-8 overall and 3-2 in conference plays. Smoot knows in order for the team to win on the road they must better execute their plays.
“[For next time] it’s just taking care of a few little plays here and there,” said Smoot. “There were some plays that I thought were really easy for us to make, and we didn’t execute them. So overall it’s about ball control and taking care of executing better.”
The Lady Lions go to Lake Charles Thursday, Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. to take on McNesse State, which will broadcast on lionsports.net. They will return home to the University Center on Oct. 10 at 7 p.m. to host Houston Baptist.