With only four games remaining in its 2019 schedule, the women’s volleyball team finds itself on the outside looking in on the Great Lakes Valley Conference playoffs. This will likely be the first time since 2015 the Bulldogs will not qualify for the postseason.
After splitting their matches over the weekend with a 3-2 match victory over William Jewell College and a 0-3 loss to Rockhurst University, the Bulldogs now sit at 11-15 overall and 4-7 in conference. If the Bulldogs are unable to win this weekend, this will be the first time in a decade they did not finish at .500 or above. Despite the adversity, defensive specialist Meg Gasper is confident in the team.
“I think we all just need to rally behind each other and have the ‘leave it all on the court’ mentality these last matches,” Gasper said. “Being able to approach these next matches knowing that will really amp up our team and push us to go out competing all of the time.”
The Bulldogs will face the Lions of Lindenwood University on Friday to start their weekend. The Lions come into the game on a five-game losing streak. Lindenwood is 10-13 overall and 1-10 in the GLVC. On Saturday, Truman will hit the road again to take on the University of Missouri-St. Louis. The Tritons enter the game ranked 23rd in the nation and riding a three-game win streak over their GLVC opponents. Gasper said she believes the Bulldogs will need to stick to their identity over the next four games to find success.
“I think our team identity relates a lot to determination,” Gasper said. “Our season, in some ways, has not gone the way we’ve wanted, but that hasn’t stopped us from coming into the gym every day and continuing our grind to get better. I have never met a more determined group of teammates who hold each other to high standards and expect the best out of each other every day.”
Gasper and the Bulldogs will need to maintain that level of determination in order to make their way into the postseason. Gasper believes that speeding up the team’s play to make its matches more chaotic for opposing teams might be the key to reaching the postseason. The Bulldogs have recently moved to a 6-2 scheme in an effort to switch things up after multiple lineups were unsuccessful.
Regardless of what changes are made, the Bulldogs will undoubtedly have to improve their play in order to win their remaining games. Truman will have to finish the season perfect and count on some timely losses by the teams ahead of them in the GLVC standings in order to earn a GLVC Championship tournament bid. While the opportunity to extend its season is fading, this team is confident it has the tools to turn the tides and save its 2019 season.