Volleyball sweep Dubuque on Carver’s new hardwood

The+Augustana+womens+volleyball+team+cut+a+ribbon+before+playing+the+first+game+on+the+new+floor+in+the+Carver+Center.+Photo+by+Emma+Gannaway.+

The Augustana women’s volleyball team cut a ribbon before playing the first game on the new floor in the Carver Center. Photo by Emma Gannaway.

Olivia Hagerty

The Augustana women’s volleyball team defeated the Dubuque Spartans in three straight sets (25-18, 25-22, 25-18) on Wednesday, September 5. With the win, the Vikings advance to 3-2 on the season.
The match was the first home win for the volleyball crew and the first varsity competition played on the Carver Center’s new hardwood floor.
Junior Grace Bialobok and senior Emily Uglem combined for more than 20 kills.
“Both of them (Bialobok and Uglem) are taking a step forward in terms of being go-to hitters for us, have the confidence, and are prepared to have a good season,” head coach Kelly Bethke said. “We had good leadership from our upperclassmen, that kept things calm and we were able to focus on the next play. Things are starting to click with this young team.”
Bialobok led the match with 14 kills on 21 attempts, which resulted in a .667 attack percentage. The junior attributed a lot of her offensive success to communication from the back row.
“The passers, the setters, and everyone has stepped it up allowing me to be successful. Whatever kills I get can’t be done without my team,” Bialobok said. “The team knew a win wouldn’t come easy, so we came into every practice knowing what needs to be done. Our team made them (Dubuque) adjust to us and work around us.”
The Vikings finished with 49 attacks, the Spartans 33.
Each set was fairly neck-and-neck after the Vikings took a quick 2-0 lead with kills by Bialobok and junior Taylor Steger. The Spartans would fight back with some powerful kills which saw Augustana trailing 9-6. The Vikings then won the next eight of the nine points.
Bethke said having the pressure and confidence is what helped the Vikings pull out the win.
“Offensively, we played one of our best matches in a long time as I look back at previous years,” Bethke said. “We hit almost .300, had 49 kills, and only made 12 errors. That doesn’t give Dubuque a lot of opportunities. The team played good clean volleyball, which is what we always want to do.”
In order to get to this point, the team had to adjust earlier in the season as the Carver Center floor was being renovated. Practices were across river in a field house in Bettendorf, but Bethke said not being able to practice at home was a positive and negative experience. It took a lot of extra time for the college players to commit to traveling to practices, but unexpectedly it turned out to create team bonding. And it showed after Wednesday night’s win.
“We wanted better communication and positive attitude, which the team really showed tonight,” said Uglem. “Feels really good to be back home for my last season.”
The Lady Vikings will travel to Iowa this weekend for the Grinnell Tournament and head to Millikin on Wednesday, September 12 for their first CCIW match.
Photo Above: The Augustana women’s volleyball team cut a ribbon before playing the first game on the new floor in the Carver Center. Photo by Emma Gannaway.