Photo by Gerald Castillo
Bobcats soar over Eagles for fourth-straight sweep
Karen Chisum drew a staircase on the back of her stat sheet.
Her players make fun of her for it. But it gets the point across nonetheless. The Bobcats have to reach another level in match they play. They have to climb another stair.
Texas State (14-7, 6-1 Sun Belt) found itself at the bottom of the steps on Oct. 4, taking its first conference loss of the season on the road against Arkansas State, 3-2. But the team has risen in every game since. The maroon and gold has swept its past four opponents for a 12-set winning streak, including a 3-0 (25-10, 25-15, 25-13) win over Georgia Southern (6-11, 1-5) on Saturday inside Strahan Arena.
“We're going up each of these matches,” Chisum said. “But I do think that Arkansas State loss was fuel. It may be the best thing we — I hate to say this — best thing that's happened to us all year. But sometimes you need to rethink and get back on track.”
The hosts began the match with a kill from senior outside hitter Cheyenne Huskey, assisted by sophomore setter Emily DeWalt. The pair connected for another two scores during the next three points. Junior libero Brooke Johnson continued serving for another four possessions, with Texas State winning each of them to jump out to an 8-0 lead.
It was a recurring theme for the team, scoring at least the first three points of every set during the match.
“At the beginning, we always want to try to get the first five points of the game. And that just is a big confidence booster for everyone because it gets us in a rhythm,” redshirt freshman outside hitter Lauren Teske said. “Volleyball is all about momentum. And so those first couple points, when we get the momentum, it's a good game.”
The Bobcats swatted for a season-high .449 attacking percentage. Sophomore outside hitter Janell Fitzgerald led the team with 13 kills, followed by Huskey with 12 and Teske with 10.
Teske said the strikers received a lot of help from their back line calling out where to place the ball. Chisum said she wants to see more of it in the future.
“We haven't been real good about that all season long,” Chisum said. “We work, we talk about it all the time. And I'm glad to hear (Teske) say that, because I don't hear it from the sideline, that they are calling the shots and that makes a big difference. It's hard for a hitter to go up automatic, you know, and see the whole court. But when someone behind them is telling them 'hit line, hit cross, tip,' it makes a huge difference.”
Chisum did think the team could do a better job of blocking. Texas State only swatted away two shots by the Eagles, though reject nine in a 3-0 victory over Georgia State the night before. But that’ll be the next step up for the team. For now, the Bobcats are just happy for their fourth-consecutive win.
“I think (the Arkansas State loss is) our motivation right now because we never want to be back in that position that we were,” Teske said. “We want to play Texas State volleyball and now we're showing Bobcat Nation what Texas State volleyball is.”