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Sports Volleyball

Evansville sweep keeps MVC Championship hopes alive

The Drake volleyball team finished the weekend 1-1 after taking on Evansville (8-18, 3-10 MVC) and Southern Illinois (18-6, 8-5 MVC). The team lost in four sets (25-16, 27-25, 23-25, 25-19) to Southern Illinois on Friday and defeated Evansville (25-21, 25-20, 25-22) in straight sets on Saturday.

With the win over Evansville, the Bulldogs (4-19, 3-9 MVC) improved to seventh place in the Missouri Valley Conference standings. With six games left on the schedule, the team has time to catch sixth place Missouri State to earn a MVC Tournament berth. However, in order to do so, Drake would have to make up four games in its final six conference matches.

“We really want to go the tournament,” said senior Jadranka Tramosljanin. “No matter who we play, we want to play hard and see how it goes.”

Tramosljanin finished the weekend with 22 kills and 36 digs.

The team is making a push at the right time as they try to make it to the tournament. The young team started the season 0-11, but has managed to win three of its last eight conference games. Freshman Cassie Effken has come on strong for head coach Tony Sunga’s team.

“We know we have to go all out these last few games because we do have a chance to get in the tournament,” Effken said. “It feels really nice to know that our handwork and practice is showing up in games.”

Effken was able to tally 26 kills to lead the team this weekend. Effken is geared up to compete for a tournament berth.

“Just knowing that we have a chance to get there and having that on the line definitely pushes us to work harder,” Effken said.

Coming off her school record 45-dig performance, redshirt junior Sarah Madden was able to account for 64 digs this weekend.

Sophomore Halli Meyer and freshman Rebecca Brown led the team this weekend in assists. Meyer tallied 43, while Brown spurred on her hitters with 34.

With a conference record of 3-9, the team will have to win at least four of its last six games and hope that Missouri State (7-6 in the MVC), falters. In the Bears’ remaining five games, the teams they play have a combined record of 32-29 in conference play. The Bulldogs also have an opportunity to play Missouri State on Nov. 16 in Springfield, Mo. A loss would ultimately end their season.

This weekend the team takes on UNI (second in the MVC) in Cedar Falls Friday night, and then the Bulldogs take on ninth place Bradley on Saturday in Peoria, Ill.

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