Photo: Taylor Soule
This weekend, the Drake volleyball team (2-15, 1-6 MVC) will go on a three-game road trip aiming for its second conference win of the season. The team is fresh off of a 1-1 performance this past weekend.
On Friday, the team will take on Indiana State (3-14, 1-6 MVC) in Terre Haute, Ind. The following day, the Bulldogs will take on Illinois State (10-7, 4-3 MVC) in Normal, Ill. Finally, the team will finish up with a non-conference match at North Dakota State (7-11) in Fargo, N.D., on Monday night.
Three road games in four days in three different states is the challenge the Bulldogs will have to deal with this weekend.
“We just need to play like we played tonight and we can handle them,” said sophomore Halli Meyer following last Friday’s victory over Bradley. Meyer recorded a career-high 40 assists.
Leading the way for the Bulldogs will be senior Bentley Mancini, who boasts 155 kills and 25 digs on the season. Mancini is a main cog in head coach Tony Sunga’s rebuilding process.
“Bentley is just a steady force on the floor and she will always be that,” Sunga said in a Drake athletics press release. “We know that she will deliver in tight sets, in a tight match, we know that she will always be there.”
In Friday’s matchup against Indiana State, Drake has the opportunity to go from ninth place to eighth place in the Missouri Valley Conference, as both teams are 1-6 in conference play. The Sycamores are led by junior setter Loni Macklason, who had 28 assists and nine digs in their most recent match against with Wichita State.
The Redbirds of Illinois State are 4-3 in the conference and sit at sixth place in the conference. Illinois State is led by first-year Ashley Rosch, who is averaging a little over three kills and digs per set this season.
On Monday the Bulldogs have a non-conference matchup with North Dakota State, a member of the Summit League. The Bison are 4-4 in their conference. The team is led by senior Brynn Joki who has 249 kills and 232 digs in 18 games from her outside hitter position.
Mancini talked about the team’s improvement after the match against Bradley.
“We’ve all gotten so close in the last couple of months because we have such a small team, and I’m just so proud of them,” Mancini said in a Drake athletics press release. “It feels really good to see that the team is coming along.”
Following the three road games, the Bulldogs will enjoy a home game against Creighton for their Dig Pink match, where they help raise awareness for breast cancer. The team lost a straight set decision at Creighton in September.