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Inconsistent Drake can’t find rhythm in winless homestand

Story by Austin Cannon

Photos by Joel Venzke

vball_4joelBW-w2000-h2000The Drake volleyball team dropped three home matches this week to the Nebraska-Omaha, Missouri State and Wichita State.

On Wednesday, the Bulldogs faced a 4-10 Nebraska-Omaha squad.

In the first set, Drake battled back from deficits of 14-10 and 21-17 to cut the Maverick lead to 24-23, but Nebraska-Omaha scored the final point to win the set.

The Mavericks jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the second, again forcing the Bulldogs to play from behind.

vball1_joelBW-w2000-h2000Nebraska-Omaha further extended its lead to put Drake in a 10-20 hole. The Bulldogs were able to score five straight points, but ended up losing the set 20-25.

The third set looked more promising for the Bulldogs.

Drake took leads of 11-7, 20-16 and 24-21 but could not shut the door on the Mavericks.

Nebraska-Omaha capitalized, going on a 5-0 run to win the set and the match.

vball2_joelBW-w2000-h2000“We dug ourselves into early holes and couldn’t get out of them,” head coach Darrin McBroom said in a Drake athletics press release. “Our issue tonight was our passing and not being able to get our hitters enough opportunities to swing.”

Junior Amanda Platte led Drake with 12 kills.

Sarah Madden led the Bulldog back line with 17 digs.

Drake faced the Missouri State Bears on Friday night at the Knapp Center.

The Bears dominated the first set, using a .467 hitting percentage to win 25-14. They used a 12-3 run to win the set after going up 13-11.

Missouri State was hot again in the second set, playing to a 21-15 and forcing a Drake timeout. Drake came out of the break with a 6-2 run to make it 23-21, but the Bears shut the door by scoring the final two points.

At the beginning of the third, Drake once again found itself playing from behind.

Missouri State jumped out to an early lead, but Drake was able to cut it to 11-8. That was as close as the Bulldogs got, as the Bears were able to take the match by winning the set 25-17.

Drake finished its homestand with a contest with Wichita State.

The Shockers dominated the first set, winning 25-11 behind a .424 hitting percentage.

The Bulldogs put up more of a fight, racing out to a 7-3 lead early, but Wichita State used an 8-0 run to take a 11-7 advantage.

The Shockers held Drake at bay to lead 23-19 late in the set. The Bulldogs responded with three straight points to close the gap to one, but WSU was able to score the final two points to take the set.

vball3_joelBW-w2000-h2000In the third set, the Shockers built leads of 9-5 and 13-6, again putting Drake in a hole it couldn’t get out of.

WSU won the set 25-16 to stay undefeated in MVC play.

Effken, who finished the match with 10 kills, thought Drake needed consistency.

“We didn’t start as strong as we would like in the opener, but I thought we did some very good things in set two. There were some great things we can take away from tonight and build on as we move forward to our next matches,” Effken said.

Drake fell 2-14 on the year and 0-6 at home.

Despite the tough stretch, Madden, the team’s lone senior, praised the young players.

“We are a very young team, but our freshmen and sophomores are getting confidence and realizing there isn’t time to be a young player, and they are having the opportunity to make an impact right away,” Madden said.

Drake plays at the University of Northern Iowa on Saturday at 7 p.m.

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