Drake takes on best and worst in the Missouri Valley
The second slate of home games for the Drake volleyball team (1-14, 0-5 MVC) will be played this weekend in the Knapp Center.
On Friday, the team will face (6-10, 0-5 MVC) Bradley and on Saturday, it will take on (13-5, 5-0 MVC) UNI. Both games will take place at 7 p.m.
Bradley is tied with Drake for last place in the Missouri Valley Conference standings, while UNI is in first place. Both of these games will be a measuring stick for how Drake stacks up in the MVC.
Redshirt junior Sarah Madden says that both games are important regardless of the standings.
“I would not say there is a game we are focusing on more,” she said. “We do need to focus on taking care of business during both games to put us in a better position to make the MVC tournament.”
The game against the Braves will be the team’s third home game in 15 games so far this season. Senior Jadranka Tramosljanin says the Knapp Center is an excellent facility.
“The Knapp Center is a wonderful gym. A lot of teams in our conference do not get a chance to play in a nice, big gym like the Knapp Center,” Tramosljanin said. “But, of course, it feels wonderful to play in front of our Drake, Des Moines crowd, and it feels even better to defend home court.”
When in-town rival UNI comes to the Knapp Center on Saturday, the volleyball team will host Spike’s Kids Club Day. Tramosljanin discussed the importance of Spike’s Kids Club Day.
“It is really important for all the kids to be a part of the sports. It’s a great opportunity to be influenced in the right direction,” Tramosljanin said. “I remember when I was (a) kid and when I watched older girls competing. It made me want to play volleyball even more.”
Offensive players to watch this weekend include sophomore Halli Meyer, who put up 55 assists in two games last weekend, and senior Bentley Mancini, who registered 27 kills in those two games. Defensive players to watch are Tramosljanin and Madden, who had 23 and 34 digs last weekend, respectively. Tramosljanin is also an offensive threat – she tacked on 22 kills.
Following this weekend’s match-ups, the Bulldogs have a three-game road stint. The team will travel to Terre Haute, Ind., to play Indiana Sate next Friday. Then, the team will take on Illinois State in Normal, Ill., the next day. That following Monday, the team will square off against North Dakota State in a non-conference game in Fargo, S.D.