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The Baker Orange

Volleyball team goes 1-1 over the weekend

Story by Chad Mullen, Writer

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The Baker University volleyball team is running on a two-match win streak in conference play after starting 0-3 in the Heart of America Athletic conference season.

On Friday, the Wildcats came back from losing the first two sets to defeat the Graceland University Yellowjackets in five. The Wildcats had close third and fourth set victories at 25-22 and 25-23, respectively, and the fifth set had to be extended to an extra point. With the Wildcats up 15-14 in the set, sophomore Ashley Sparks made the kill to seal the victory for Baker. Sparks led the Wildcats on Friday with 14 kills, and led for the weekend with 25 over two matches.

“We had some tough matches to start the season, but we’ve entered a stretch where they could go either way,” junior Madeline McCrary said. “So that’s what we’re focusing on right now, winning those even matchups.”

After Friday’s emotional victory, the Wildcats took on No. 7 Park University on Saturday for the second time this season after losing to the Pirates in three sets on Sept. 9. The results were the same the second time around, as the Wildcats lost the non-conference match in straight sets, but they were able to take away valuable lessons.

“We knew we could play with them, and we showed that by going ahead in the first set,” McCrary said. “But it was important to see that, because we need to have confidence going into matches like these against ranked opponents.”

Having breaks between conference opponents could serve as a distraction, but McCrary and the Wildcats know they need to keep their priorities in order to have a successful conference season.

“It’s a little tricky, but we’re confident in our ability to stay focused,” she said. “No matter what the results of our non-conference matches are, we need to put them aside and adjust to conference.”

Although the Wildcats have placed Heart matches at the forefront, they know it is important not to take non-conference matches lightly. It is all a matter of keeping priorities in check for McCrary.

“Every game is important, but when we look at our weekend, we are more excited about our victory Friday than we are disappointed with our loss at Park.”