BY JOSH COOK
The Bulldogs volleyball team won the final game of their invitational tournament this week to finish 3-1 in tournament play, earning second place.
Tournament play began on Thursday, Sept. 7 with a game against Omaha, which Drake won 3-2 in five sets. Drake then played two games on Friday against Southeast Missouri State and San Jose State.
The Bulldogs handled Southeast Missouri State well, easily beating them in three sets. Drake had the upper hand in this game; the closest set was 25-20.
San Jose State gave the Bulldogs their only loss in the tournament, beating them in a tightly contested, five-set game. The two teams battled back and forth, with San Jose State winning the first, third and fifth sets while Drake won the second and fourth.
On Saturday, Sept. 9 Drake played Montana in the finale of their host tournament. The Bulldogs won this game with relative ease, winning in four sets and losing in the second. The women closed their weekend on a high note, out-doing Montana in nearly every team statistic.
San Jose State won the tournament, being the only team that beat Drake, with a 3-0 in their games at the Knapp Center. San Jose State Junior Luiza Andrade was named tournament MVP while senior Breann Robinson also made the all-tournament team.
For Drake, freshman Kylee Macke made the all-tournament team after an outstanding performance throughout the week. She led the entire tournament pool of players with 75 digs on the weekend, a testament to her defensive prowess and consistency.
Coach Darrin McBroom said Macke has a “commanding presence and takes charge” as a first-year (Drake Athletics).
McBroom also said that this is one of the deepest Drake teams, skill-wise, that we’ve seen at Drake for a while.
“More than ever, our program has more offensive weapons than we’ve had before. We’ve never had that kind of depth,” McBroom said (Drake Athletics).
We’ll see if the Bulldogs can sustain this level of play heading into their conference schedule when tournament play is over. Drake will participate in the Hampton Inn Leatherneck Invitational at Western Illinois University next weekend, beginning on the 15.
After this tournament, Drake will begin their conference schedule against Loyola University in Chicago and will play three road matches before they get back to the Knapp Center on Sept. 29 for their regular season home opener against Illinois State.