Drake’s Missouri Valley Conference struggles continued over the weekend with losses to Wichita State and Missouri State.
The Bulldogs dropped a five-set heartbreaker (19-25, 18-25, 25-18, 25-21, 13-15) against Missouri State last Saturday evening.
The game ended on a lifting call against Drake senior Alisa DeBerg Roth after a frantic rally by both teams. The head referee, Dave Stewart, made the call.
“When it comes down to it, a couple things didn’t go our way throughout the game,” Head Coach Phil McDaniel said. “A few bounces didn’t go our way.”
The Bulldogs dropped the opening two sets against the Bears before mounting a spectacular comeback after intermission. Drake was tied with Missouri State 13-13 in the fifth and final set up to 15.
The Bears dominated the Bulldogs in the opening two sets with an attack percentage of .286 in the first set and an amazing percentage of .524 in the second.
“In the locker room, we talked about the need to take control of the net, and the back row made adjustments to dig attacks better, and better quality passes,” McDaniel said. “It was nice to see us come out and make the changes that needed to be made.”
The Bulldog defense held the Bears to a -.020 attack percentage in set three.
The Bulldogs lost in straight sets (24-26, 21-25, 17-25) to the Shockers of Wichita State last Friday evening.
The Bulldogs’ late comeback fell just short in the opening set against the Shockers. They tied the set at 22-22 after trailing 15-8, following a nine-point streak by Wichita State. The Bulldogs are 2-5 on the season when they dropped the first set, compared to 15-0 when they won the opening set.
Sophomore Emily Heffernen had 21 kills combined in both games with a season-high 14 last Saturday. Senior Angela Bys finished with 22 kills for the Drake attack.
Junior Caitlin Johnson finished the weekend with 44 assists and two aces.
Senior libero Alana Wittenburg led Drake with 51 digs over the weekend. Junior Erika Price contributed an additional 18 digs.
The Bulldogs return to action over fall break this Saturday against the Creighton Bluejays at 7 p.m. in the Knapp Center. The Bluejays are in second place in the MVC behind Northern Iowa.
“Creighton is playing well,” McDaniel said. “Two-7 (seeds in the MVC) are having to battle to stay in the top six.
“Everyone needs to come out ready to play against a hot team in the conference.”
Photo: David Johnson