Comeback Gives Volleyball New Life


Jason Smith

Sophomore outside hitter Emily Schipper jump serves the ball across the net to Carroll.

Nick Gainey

With only a few weeks to go in their regular season, the women’s volleyball team was in a major slump. Starting with four losses in two days at their own Viking Classic, the team went through a stretch where they lost 13 of 14 contests. 

That changed on Oct. 15, when they hosted Dubuque at the Carver Center. 

At first, it looked like the rough patch would continue. The Vikings dropped the first two sets, 25-21 and 25-18. But they managed to take the final three sets to secure a 3-2 victory. 

“After we lost the first two sets, we got into a huddle and talked about what we were going to do better. I knew every single person in that huddle had the same mentality, that we wanted to win the next three sets,” sophomore Amelie Baehr-Ross said. 

Emily Schipper led the Vikings with 24 kills in the match, along with four blocks. Ja’Nya Davis added another five blocks. Sophomore Grace Vranicar had 33 digs as well as two aces. Senior Olivia Doak* led the team with 25 assists. 

The Vikings were able to find the missing ingredient in the Dubuque game that they were lacking in previous contests. 

“We had confidence, something that in games prior we were lacking,” Vranicar said. “We knew we would pull this one-off. We believed in our teammates and ourselves, and that’s why we were able to come back and ultimately win the game.” 

Even during the long losing streak, the Vikings knew they had the ability to win. They just needed to keep working hard in practice, stay positive and trust their skills. 

“I think what kept me positive was that I knew our team had all the skill and passion that is needed to win games,” Vranicar said. “We just need to put it all together, and I knew we would do it with time.” 

The team rode their momentum to another big win on Oct. 20, picking up their first conference win with a 3-1 win over Carroll at the Carver Center. Schipper once again led the Vikings with 19 kills, while Davis contributed six blocks. Doak added 25 assists, while Vranicar picked up 24 digs. 

Prior to the turnaround, the Vikings had compiled a 5-18 record. Even though the season hadn’t turned out the way the team had hoped so far, they still had optimism.

“[The wins] show that all the hard work over the season does pay off,” senior Lexi Miller said. “We have goals to reach even with only a little bit of season left. This was a confidence boost for our team. We all knew we had it in us, but now the results are showing it.”

The Vikings will close out the regular season by hosting the Pumpkin Bash at the Carver Center from Oct. 29-30. They will play Benedictine and Simpson on Oct. 29, and Edgewood on Oct. 30. Senior night festivities will be held during the Simpson game.

*Olivia Doak is a member of the Observer staff