Volleyball wins one, loses one in conference matchups

The Lady Lions (10-15, 5-10 SLC) have been plagued by inconsistency all year, and that fact has not been lost on Geno Frugoli and his coaching staff.  
But after Thursday’s win over Stephen F. Austin (18-9, 9-5 SLC), Frugoli was singing a different tune. With three conference games left on the schedule, his team is in the hunt for the conference tournament.
The Lady Lions have a 5-10 record in conference after dropping a Homecoming match to Northwestern State last Saturday, which would put them in position for the seventh or eighth seed for the tournament.
“You still want to take it game-by-game, because I want to see how good the group can get before we get to the tournament,” said Frugoli. “But it looks like we’re going to be there. I just get more and more excited when I think about that. It’s just a great feeling for the girls and me.”
The road to possible contention was not easy, however, with the fourth ranked team in conference Stephen F. Austin  standing in the way.
The Lady Lions opened strong by dominating the first set 25-15, before fading quickly in the second set and losing 22-25. After the second set, Frugoli made sure his team was fired up for the rest of the match.
“It was important that we start acting and thinking like winners, and winners think about every single point, and doing what they’re supposed to do,” said Frugoli. “So for us it’s a mentality. We know we can come out and compete with anyone, it’s just wondering if we can stay mentally focused enough to do it. And we did it tonight.”
The Lady Lions rallied to win the match, 3-2. However, Saturday did not yield the same results, as they lost in three sets to Northwestern State.
With the careers of seniors Becky Bekelja and Courtney Donald, who have been key pieces this season, Frugoli has several younger options to fill the void.
“Shelby Devlin came up tonight and played really well. Veronica Turk, she had a rough night, but she has that potential,” Frugoli said. “We have three recruits that we’re going to announce in a couple weeks. We think some of them can come in and help.”
Freshman setter Mikayla Shippy has been seeing time as an outside hitter and has been excelling, according to Frugoli. Still, the bulk of Frugoli’s attention is on the short term.
“We have a big youth movement. Our whole back row is all young, so I’m not worried about that right now,” said Frugoli. “We’re going to get this group as good as we can get it, then go from there.”