Lady Lions sneak in as eighth seed of tournament

As quickly as it came, the Lady Lions’ (11-18, 5-13 SLC) regular season has met its end. With a three set victory against Texas Southern on Thursday and a four set loss to Nicholls State on Saturday, second year head coach Geno Frugoli has led his team to a conference tournament for the first time in his short tenure.
“We changed our lineup a little bit, and we hoped it would’ve worked a little better tonight,” Frugoli said after Saturday’s loss. “But it’s something we can build on for next week for sure. We have a week of practice, and we’re going to go up against probably a Central Arkansas (UCA) team that we’re comfortable playing.”
After the Senior Day rituals and celebrations died down, seniors Courtney Donald, Tamra Grayson, Taylor Buckner and Becky Bekelja took center stage at the University Center for the last time. However, after the game, Frugoli and his squad were looking ahead to the tournament where they will likely face rival Central Arkansas.
Southeastern snuck into the tournament with the eighth seed, but the underdog status is something that Frugoli has prided his team on all year.
“We’re the underdog every time we step on the floor,” Frugoli said. “That’s the way I feel about it, and that’s what I tell everyone. So we’re going to work in that role, and play every point like it’s our last. I’m just thankful to have another week of playing.”
The next week will be spent quelling anxiety and honing the rough spots in each player’s game.
Grayson has set her sights on improving defensively this upcoming week hoping to improve her blocking skills.
“I feel that I need to work a little bit more on my blocking,” said Grayson.  “I pretty much have the hitting down – I have to snap a little more – but I’m going to work this week on my blocking. Hopefully that helps me next week.”
Donald noted that the Lady Lions have quite a history with their opposition this season.
“I feel like we’re very prepared. We lost tonight’s match, but we’re going against our opponent that we’ve taken to five sets multiple times,” said Donald. “With a week’s worth of prep we can really give them a good game.”
Donald leaves Southeastern with the sixth-best attack percentage in school history, seventh in kills and attempts, eighth in total blocks and points, and ninth in solo blocks, making her one of the most decorated volleyball players in school history.
In two meetings this season, the Lions have brought UCA to five sets and four sets, losing both matches.
When asked about the Lady Lions responding to their underdog status, Donald simply replied,  “It just makes for a sweeter story in the end.”