Truman State Women’s Volleyball team broke through their 12-game losing streak in their game against McKendree University, Sept. 29.
Despite the Bulldogs falling to McKendree the last time they played them in 2021, the team knew they had a chance competing with them and entered their home gym with more confidence, junior middle blocker Allison Beaton said.
The game has been the most memorable part of the season so far, junior outside Hanna Berry said. It was a turning point in their season, where they competed and got the win on their record.
The Bulldogs won the first set 25-21 and the second 25-16. McKendree won the next two, 19-25 and 18-25. The last set was tied 14-14 until Truman found two more points to win 16-14.
“Grit is a big word in our gym, and it took a lot of grit to win that match,” Berry said. ”It was just exciting because we all came together and functioned as one.”
It is not easy to come back and win after losing so much momentum, Berry said.
The Bulldogs had to fight for the win despite the challenges they had been facing, Beaton said. Senior setter Rachel DeFries tore her ACL the weekend before. She was a big part of their team and had to go home to recover.
“She can’t be replaced, and now we just have to play for her,” Berry said.
Four of the starting players are freshmen, and they are learning how to fill such big roles, Beaton said. The team also has been getting used to a coaching change.
Head coach David Gannon was hired last July and has been learning how to implement his culture into the program, Gannon said. This has also been his first recruiting class. His culture goes far past the gym.
“I’m trying to uphold a high standard, and that’s not anything that we can take a timeout from — that’s something that we have to live everyday,” Gannon said. “Whether that be in the classroom working our hardest, in the gym working our hardest going for every ball because we don’t know which ones we are going to get and which ones we are not.”
The consistency of high achievement is something the team is striving for, Gannon said. The win showed the team that their process had been working.
The team often struggles to ‘show up’ at the same time, Berry said. It is hard when the offense shows up, but the defense struggles, and vice versa.
“We all have the desire to win, but we kind of, I think, we forgot how to, honestly,” Berry said.
The coaches had a sigh of relief and were able to feel the excitement of the team when they walked in the locker room, Gannon said. She said it didn’t feel like they hadn’t won yet this season, and that it was the spark of confidence the team needed.
The following game, the team came out on fire, Gannon said.
“Truman state has a wonderful legacy of volleyball, and we want to get back there. It has been too long since they’ve been there, so it’s time,” Gannon said.
The Bulldogs are on a two game winning streak after the Midwest Regional Crossover, where they faced Lake Erie College and Ursuline College, Oct. 15. The team will face Quincy University Oct. 21.