Newman volleyball struggles to take off

By Kevin Clack, Sports Editor

Newman volleyball hit the road last week but fell short, losing all three matches and dropping to 1-15 on the year and 0-2 in the Heartland Conference.

The ladies started the road trip in Bethany, Oklahoma, with a non-conference match against Southern Nazarene, losing in straight sets.

The Jets dropped their conference opener against St. Edward’s in Austin, forcing a fourth set before falling to the Hilltoppers.

Volleyball wrapped up its conference games coming up short against Dallas Baptist 0-3.

Head Coach Jose Lugo said last week’s travel schedule presented problems for the ladies.

“Playing on the road is hard first and foremost. It takes you a little out of your routine,” he said. “I thought we did some things really well, but ultimately we just couldn’t hold on and do those things long enough.”

Lugo said the Jets’ slow takeoff this semester is because of the inexperience of the team, which consists of five freshmen and three sophomores.

“The freshmen are trying to figure out college, their schedules and volleyball, and they have to play at the same time,” he said. “And we’re asking them to produce and do a lot on the court, so there is tremendous pressure on them to go do well.”

When the team is playing at its best, its passing skills and the offense’s speed are extremely effective, Lugo said.

“Yemima Buana hit 389 yesterday, 400 in a match last week and she had another where she hit 350. She’s just teeing off because we’re so fast behind the setters,” he said. “So when the passing is on, we’re able to score points in bunches and put pressure on the other team.”

The senior said Lugo tells the girls that they just have to keep on pushing and that they’re almost there, even when it doesn’t feel like it.

For the ladies to end the season on a positive note, Buana said, the easiest thing to do is just play.

“We’re going to have to leave it all on the court so in the end when we’re done, we know we gave it our all,” she said. “The worst feeling is knowing you could have done something better, and you don’t.”

The Jets will continue conference play at 7 p.m. today against St. Mary’s, at home. This will be the second time the ladies will face off against the Hilltoppers this season.

PHOTO: THE LADY JETS will continue conference play home today at 7 p.m. against the Hilltoppers. Courtesy photo, Newman Athletics.