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The Student News Site of Drake University

The Times-Delphic

The Student News Site of Drake University

The Times-Delphic

Drake women’s volleyball is off to a hot start in 2022 season

Photo+By%3A+Dylan+Hueuer+Courtesy+of+Drake+Athletics
Photo By: Dylan Hueuer Courtesy of Drake Athletics

For the Drake women’s volleyball team, success is about a lot more than wins. In the face of challenges such as the renovation of the Knapp Center and spending the first six weeks of the season on the road, they’ve managed a 9-4 record in non-conference play and a 10-5 overall record.

“I think the key to our success has just been resilience,” libero Jada Wills said. We have had so many obstacles in our way between the Knapp renovation, being on the road six weekends in a row and not having our locker room, but we have never let it cross our mind.”

The team’s non-conference schedule was highlighted by a victory over Iowa (6-8) in four sets and a 2-1 showing at the Cardinal and Gold Challenge in Ames. First-year setter Addison Beagle said a lot of the keys to their success have been mental.

“It’s been staying within ourselves and playing our game,” Beagle said.

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Another key to victory for the Bulldogs has been defense. Wills, who averages five of Drake’s nearly 15 digs per set, said that is where the team stands apart.

“Defense wins games,” Wills said. “I think it’s one of the biggest energy creators in the game. Almost every Division 1 program has great offensive options. Having a great defense is what separates the good teams from the great ones. We have been working all season to focus on playing defense well, consistency will help us win games in the long run.”

The Bulldogs, who were picked to finish ninth in the preseason Missouri Valley Conference poll, are off to a 1-1 start in the Valley as of the time this article was published. Following a 3-1 win in their first-ever conference matchup against UIC (9-6, 1-2) and a tough five set loss to Valparaiso (13-2, 1-2), it’s been proven that the Missouri Valley will be tough. Wills said she sees consistency as a key to continued success going forward.

“I think the number one key going forward in this tough conference is consistency,” Wills said. “Consistently working hard in practice, never taking a rep off and taking care of the controllables.”

Beagle added that hustle will be a big factor down the stretch of the conference season.

“We need to continue to play with intensity every point and have a go-getter attitude,” Beagle said. 

Wills said that despite how deep the Valley is this year, the Bulldogs have set their sights on big goals.

“We have never won the conference or the [conference] tournament,” Wills said. “We are very capable of doing that this year. Our goals are set high, but we are doing the right things to meet them.”

The Bulldogs are well on their way to meeting that goal as they’re coming off a 2-0 road trip this past weekend. On Saturday’s five-set thriller with Missouri State, senior outside hitter Haley Bush was able to cross the 1,000-kill mark. And, with the first home games of the season looming, Drake sits in second place in the Missouri Valley Conference.

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