Bradley volleyball wrapped up the first half of its Missouri Valley Conference schedule last Friday with a 3-1 loss to Illinois State. The loss dropped the Braves to 1-8 in conference play, slotting them eighth overall in the standings.
Morale, however, remains high for both the players and the coaching staff as they continue to focus on the positives of their season.
Talent is not an issue for this team, as it has already displayed dominating performances during sets. The area in which the Braves will be looking to improve as the second-half picks up is consistency.
Head coach Carol Price-Torok said she thought her team challenged opponents well in the first half against Illinois State.
I think weve been pretty true to ourselves, and were just trying to figure out how to be more consistent, Price-Torok said. Looking at some of the standings and statistics, I think were top-three in most sets played, which means were really pushing teams in matches. Were just trying to find ways to keep the highs high and make the lows occur less often.
Junior outside hitter Erica Haslag had a great first half as she finished with 4.24 kills per set, good for second in the MVC. According to Haslag, playing in so many tight matches will pay off for the Braves during the second-half of the season as wins start to come their way.
Were doing good things, and we just have to keep progressing, Haslag said. Some of the losses weve experienced will become wins because weve had a lot of close games. If we keep pushing to improve, I think a lot of wins are going to go our way in the second half.
Price-Torok said in order to improve, Haslag needs to continue her solid play while others step up as well.
We need to continue to count on people we need, like Erica on the outside, Price-Torok said. Our middles have had some really great performances, but we need them to do that in every set, not just some of them, and I think that will turn the tide our way.
As the Braves look to add more tallies in the win column, Price-Torok said the team will be focusing more on preparation in the second half of the season.
Well be watching our matches against the teams that weve played, Price-Torok said. Well be trying to see the game plans that people have used against us and make sure we are prepared for it. Well see what we did well and continue to do it, as well as prepare for adjustments so we can continue to have success and have a few more of those matches turn our way.
Haslag echoed her coachs words and said she has already benefitted from extra preparation.
Even before our last game, I did a lot more preparation in terms of watching film, and I think that helped me, Haslag said. I was able to anticipate what the other team was able to do, so Im going to keep preparing a lot for matches and encourage everyone else to, as well.
Bradley will start off the second half with back-to-back road matches. The Braves will face off against league-leading Missouri State University tonight at 7 p.m., before heading to Southern Illinois University on Saturday for a 7 p.m. match against the Salukis.