Gargoyle Classic proves to be a challenge

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Junior Jordan Hampel sets the ball during the game against Illinois Wesleyan. Photo by Linnea Ritchie.

Junior Jordan Hampel sets the ball during the game against Illinois Wesleyan. Photo by Linnea Ritchie.
Junior Jordan Hampel sets the ball during the game against Illinois Wesleyan.
Photo by Linnea Ritchie.

The Augustana volleyball team struggled to keep its composure at last weekend’s Gargoyle Classic at the University of Chicago, dropping two of its four matches.
Augustana’s composure was missing specifically in its loss to the University of Chicago.  The Phoenix had 13 more kills than Augustana with only seven more attempts.  Augustana head coach Kelly Bethke said the lack of aggression Augustana had lead to the team’s loss of composure.
“We let them take control of the match early and we never stepped up our game,” said Bethke. “Our best play is when we are hitting aggressively and serving aggressively and I don’t feel like we got that part of our game going because we kept taking the shots from them. They were hitting at us and we seemed to constantly try and stay afloat. They definitely controlled the tempo of the match.”
Their two wins were against Concordia University Chicago and Kalamazoo College. Their two losses were to Cornell College and University of Chicago.
Bethke said this record is lower than the records of the previous tournaments, which were 4-0 and 3-1, but is not disappointed about it. However, she does believe there were points where the team needed to play better.
“You could view it as a disappointment, but I do not,” said Bethke. “I view it as playing good competition, and three out of four matches we played, we competed in. I was pleased with our performance three out of the four matches but the game against University of Chicago I don’t think anybody could argue with me when I say I don’t believe we played the way we normally do.”
Going into conference play, Bethke said that these matches were a good preview for the type of competition Augustana will see. With three teams in CCIW ranking in the top 30 of national DIII volleyball teams, Cornell College and the University of Chicago were in the top 30 as well. In this season, the three losses Augustana has been to teams that are ranked, including the two losses in the Gargoyle classic.
There are three ranked teams in the CCIW, and the top four teams in conference get to go to the conference tournament in order to try and win  a bid to the NCAA Division III volleyball tournament. The team goal for Augustana all year has been to get to the conference tournament by being one of the top four teams in conference.
“Our goal that the players set for themselves was to be in the top half of the conference,” Bethke said. “If we place in the top four we go to the conference tournament. If we win the tournament, we go to the NCAA tournament.”
The three ranked teams in the CCIW, Carthage, Millikin, and Elmhurst all played in the Gargoyle classic, going a combined 9-1. Both Carthage and Elmhurst beat Cornell and Carthage beat the University of Chicago. For Bethke, however, the wins from this tournament is overshadowed by how her team performed to its own standards, something she has preached to her players all season.
“I am still not about winning or losing, I am about playing your best and letting the rest take care of itself,” said Bethke. “The match we lost against Cornell, we knew it would be a tough battle. We got them the first time we matched up but they got us this time around. I was happy with the way we competed but I was disappointed that we weren’t able to get the win out of it. Overall, it is all about how we play.”
The Volleyball team continues play on Oct. 3-4 at the UW-Platteville Tournament where they will face Carthage, UW-Platteville, Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and Wisconsin River Falls all within 24 hours.