By Cale Eirich
The Lady Builders dropped their conference opening match at Ottawa University Wednesday night 3-0, continuing the young team’s challenging start to the season.
The loss brings the Moundbuilders to 1-4 on the season, but there is still excitement surrounding the team explained junior setter Catabrean Baumann. “We are a young team, so having our first conference game under our belt is nice,” said Baumann. “We have growing to do as a team and I’m excited to see the progress throughout the season.”
The Lady Builders are still trying to coordinate their efforts on the court. “Our chemistry was a bit off tonight,” said freshman Outside Hitter, Kanami Ellis. “We struggled to find what it was that kept us from clicking as a team so we didn’t execute as well as we are capable of doing.” At one point in the match the Lady Builders fought back to tie the first set twice at 9-9 and 12-12 respectively, but ultimately failed to finish off the Braves’ effort. Head Coach Carolina Garbato revealed her synopsis of the outcome. “We need to play until the end of the set, not just half way through it,” said Garbato.
OU middle blocker, Kenna Hall, led Ottawa to their 25-16 win in set one hitting .727. Southwestern rallied once again in the second set, cutting their deficit to two. Despite their strong effort, the Lady Builders struggled through the rest of the set behind a -.118 attacking percentage with just three kills on 34 attempts. “We had to adjust to the fast pace of their offense,” said Baumann. “Our blockers had to work hard to get close to set up our defense for success.”
Furthermore, Southwestern eventually bounced back in the third set, taking a 16-13 lead. “We served the ball well and we were being aggressive,” said Garbato. Despite the strong start, they were unable to rally back after OU developed an 18-16 advantage, ultimately dropping the final set 25-20. “Some players stepped it up and got their job done,” said Garbato. “We competed and were ahead in scoring three times against a top team in our conference and a team that is receiving votes at a national level.”
Next on the agenda for the Lady Builders involves a home triangular against Langston and Saint Gregory’s at Stewart Fieldhouse. “We have a little under 24 hours to dwell on the loss, but by the time we practice again we need to change our mindset to the two teams we are facing on Friday,” said Garbato. Regardless of their difficult conference opening result, the Lady Builders are prepared to show what kind of team they are capable of being in the near future. “We are a competitive team,” said Ellis. “ We will use this game as motivation to work harder in practice and show up to our next game as the team I know we really are.”
Cale Eirich is a junior majoring in communication. You may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org