Story by Austin Cannon
After losses to Indiana Stare and Illinois Stare over the weekend, Drake volleyball’s winless streak extended to 10 games.
The Sycamores bested the Bulldogs on Friday, and the Illinois State Redbirds won on Saturday.
Since edging Western Illinois on Sept. 14, the Bulldogs have failed to win a set in any match.
Even during a tough stretch, Drake head coach Darrin McBroom complimented his team’s still positive attitude.
“I think our team’s done a really nice job at that, keeping their heads up on where they’re heading next,” McBroom said.
Indiana Stare opened up an early lead in the first set, 8-2, and forced a Drake timeout. The stop in play did little to stop the Sycamores, as they ran away with the set, 25-14.
The second set was more contested as Drake took a 5-2 lead early. The two teams exchanged leads throughout the frame, but Indiana State was able to take it, 25-20.
The third set was similar to the first.
The Sycamores never trailed, taking leads of 9-5 and 14-7 en route to a 25-17 win to complete the sweep.
Junior Amanda Platte led the Bulldogs offense with eight kills. Freshman Samantha Meyers, filling in at libero for the injured Sarah Madden, registered eight digs.
The Bulldogs faced more uphill climbs on Saturday against one of the top teams in the Valley.
The Redbirds soared to 10-4 lead in the first set, forcing a Drake timeout.
It proved helpful, as the Bulldogs got to within two, down only 10-12. But that was short-lived, as Illinois State upped the lead to 19-11 and then won the set 25-17.
The second set saw Drake coming back repeatedly to tie the set at 11, 14 and 16.
The Bulldogs, however, could not sustain their pace, as the Redbirds went on a 9-1 run to take the frame.
Drake took an early 9-6 lead early in the third, but Illinois State scored the next six points to go up 12-9. It did not relinquish the lead, winning the set 25-19.
Compared to the night before, McBroom was pleased with his team’s adjustments.
“We lacked a lot of poise. We lacked any kind of aggressive approach to the game last night. Tonight we were playing a little more inspired, a little more aggressive, a little more tenacious, just a lot of very good things,” McBroom said.
Freshman Capris Quaites also saw improvement in the squad’s play.
“I think this is the best we’ve played together in a while, and I thought we came out strong, especially in the third set,” Quaites said.
Platte again led the Bulldogs with 10 kills, and Quaites chipped in nine. Madden returned to her libero duties, notching 26 digs.
The pair of defeats lowered Drake’s overall record to 2-19. The Bulldogs are now 0-9 in Valley play.
With a less-than-stellar record, Platte described how practice might translate to game-time success.
“Coach is trying to bring more intensity to practice,” Platte said. “He’s making it a little tougher on us, so he’s hoping that will prepare us more for games.”