Volleyball spikes oppostion in opening weekend

Fall sports are underway on the Hilltop, and women’s volleyball is off to a fresh start led by new head coach Carol Price-Torok. Price-Torok, who was the associate head coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Arkansas last year, is looking to get the team to come together as a unit to find success as the season begins.

“We want [players] to better understand what we want and what we need out of them, individually and then collectively,” Price-Torok said. “And we really want to get them to buy into what works and what makes us successful.”

Price-Torok seems to already have the team accepting her coaching, as the Braves started off the year with two wins in three games at the Pepsi Panther Invitational at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

The Braves lost their first match of the season in a hard-fought battle against UWM that went all five sets. However, they bounced back and swept through the rest of the invitational as they beat Western Illinois and Akron, both in straight sets.

As the season progresses, coach Price-Torok said she realizes that the schedule ahead will be difficult. And even though she is new to the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC), she believes that her team has the ability to challenge for a conference championship.

“I think we’re in a really strong conference, so the challenge is we’re going to be playing someone every single weekend that is a conference contender,” Price-Torok said. “We want to let everyone in the conference know that we belong, because our kids do. We have pieces here that are really good.”

The Braves definitely believe they have the ability to compete for an MVC title. Leadership will be provided in returning seniors Kelsey Cave, Kayla Rymer and Rachel Jones. Along with the seniors, the team has some younger talent with sophomore outside hitter Erica Haslag, who is second on the team with 37 kills and 3.36 kills per set, as well as sophomore libero, Abby Ihrke.

The volleyball team will be at North Dakota State this weekend for the North Dakota State Classic. Bradley fans will be able to catch their first home game on Sept. 30 against MVC rival Southern Illinois.