The IUPUI volleyball team lost a close battle Saturday in an inter-conference match up against Northern Kentucky. The Jaguars entered the match with a conference record of 2-5 and were hoping to end a four game losing skid. Instead, after winning the first set 25-22, the Jaguars lost the next 3 sets 25-22, 25-22, and 25-14, to lose the match 3-1.
In the first set, the Jaguars roared to a tight victory. After being down 15-14 mid-match, the tide shifted with a 9-3 Jaguar run, which put them up 23-18 before the Norse called a timeout. During the run, senior Maggie Gibson recorded one kill and an ace, junior Haley Hoffman tallied two kills, and senior Abby Boatman added an ace and a block. After the Norse scored a few to narrow the margin, the Jaguars closed out the set with a kill from Gibson.
It was more of the same in the second set between the two teams. The beginning was neck and neck, then the Norse took an early lead 14-11. That’s when Abby Boatman sparked 4-0 run with 2 kills and one block to give the Jaguars the lead 16-15. As the set came to a close, the Norse went on a 4-0 run to put themselves on top 25-22 after the Jaguars suffered a bout of errors that proved fatal.
“I think It just comes down to people showing up, myself included,” Boatman said. “We have to make a conscious decision to show up at the same time. We’ll have some games where people are hot and doing well while other times other people aren’t.”
In set three the Jaguars came out strong with an early 7-3 lead after Maggie Gibson and freshman Hannah Oehlberg managed two kills each. The girls continued their work with a five point run by themselves to put the Jaguars up 17-14 in the middle of the set. The momentum went downhill once the Jaguars committed a multitude of errors. The Norse capitalized on those errors and finished the set with a 25-22 win.
“The key is to have a game plan and execute it,” head coach Steve Payne said. “We need to limit our errors toward the last five points of each set.”
The final set wasn’t as close as the Jaguars hoped after falling behind 25-14. Gibson had a team high in kills with 13 while Oehlberg wasn’t far behind with 11. Boatman led in blocks with five and sophomore Rebecca Schlechte recorded 20 assists.
Throughout the match, the Norse played excellent defense with seven blocks and 78 digs.
Though the Norse defense was great, the amount of errors in critical moments were what played a difference between sets. Within the final five points of the first three sets the Jaguars committed a total of eight errors, three of which were aces.
“We just need to execute the game plan a little better than what we did in the end,” Gibson said. “We just got a little flustered, got down, and couldn’t get back up.”
The Jaguars head off to play at Green Bay in their next match up on October 19.