Bobcats' confidence high entering pair of weekend matches

Photo by Gerald Castillo

Texas State Volleyball

Karen Chisum had no idea what was going on in the conference room next to her office inside Strahan Coliseum on Sept. 23. 

Chisum and the Bobcats had just started Sun Belt competition with a 3-0 loss to South Alabama. 

“Honestly, I think we were all stunned - stunned, surprised,” Chisum said. “South Alabama deserved it. They outplayed us that night. If you look back on the stats, we had 38 kills and 34 hitting errors, and we talked about it then. We’re beating ourselves up.”

Chisum and her staff met with the team following the disappointing start to conference play, but afterward the team remained in the room for a players-only meeting. 

“Now, I don’t know what went on in here. I have no idea,” Chisum said. “But I know I was in my office and I know they stayed another 30-45 minutes. So again, I’m going to go back to I think (seniors) Erin (Hoppe) and Jaliyah (Bolden) really talked to them and maybe some other ones. But something happened that they either dismissed something and said, ‘Forget it. Let’s go on. Let’s work harder. Let’s focus.’ Whatever it is, but I was proud of them.”

Since Sept. 23, Texas State (15-7, 6-1) has rattled off seven-straight wins - six of which have come in 3-0 sweeps. In the process, the Bobcats picked up six conference wins, and knocked off TCU, marking their first win over a Big 12 opponent since Sept. 10, 2013. 

After the loss to South Alabama, Texas State swept Troy, but Chisum believes the team’s turnaround came the following weekend when it swept both Appalachian State and defending Sun Belt champion Coastal Carolina.

“When you beat Coastal (Carolina), who are the defending champs, I think they really believed at that point, ‘You know what, we are pretty good. Let’s move on,’” Chisum said. “And it’s just kept rolling.” 

Later Chisum added: “Then the next week, we go to Arkansas State and we beat them in three, so they know that those two (teams: Arkansas State and Coastal Carolina) have consistently been at the top of the Sun Belt, and we’ve proven that we can beat them. We’d love to play South Alabama again but we don’t get that opportunity again until the conference tournament. But we can’t look back. That’s what I telling them. It’s behind us now. You just got to keep looking forward.”

Chisum also believes senior setter Erin Hoppe and senior middle blocker Jaliyah Bolden have aided Texas State’s recent success. 

“Erin and Jaliyah have really melded these kids together and they just believe in themselves right now,” Chisum said. “I think a key to the success, I think, this season is that we’re not a one-person team. We don’t go to one person. We’ve got five attackers. We can spread the ball out and really depend on most all of them, and if one is struggling a little bit then we go to somebody else. So, that’s been nice and they’ve just gained confidence.”

Texas State finishes a four-game home-stand against Georgia Southern on Friday at 6:30 p.m. and Georgia State on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. The Bobcats have enjoyed the strong run in conference and they aren’t worried about staying focused. 

“We’re very good about talking about the next match,” Chisum said. “All we’ve talked this week is Georgia Southern. The hard thing when you play Friday-Saturday, you have very little time to prepare for the Saturday night match, but of course, it’s the same way on their end. So, right now, all we’re talking is Georgia Southern.”

 

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