IWU Volleyball keeps improving

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Mackenzie Astling

The Illinois Wesleyan University volleyball team, ranked fifth in the CCIW’s preseason coaches’ poll, began their 2014 season with a 1-3 record in the eight annual Ground Round Sugar Loaf Classic in Winona, Minnesota.

On Friday, IWU split a pair of matches, defeating Gustavus Adolphus 3-2, and then falling to Wisconsin-LaCrosse 3-0.

In their opening win against Gustavus, senior Kinzie Schweigert dominated the court, leading the team with 13 kills.  First-years Anne Cummings and Kyleigh Block added 12 kills apiece while senior Maddie Greybar had nine.

Sophomore Colleen Rynne led the team in assists with 26, followed by first-year Nicole Bing who added 20 assists in addition to 16 digs. Block and Sophomore Alexa Cornish led the defensive efforts with 26 and 25 digs, respectively.

“During that match, we played at our speed,” Greybar said of the Gustavus game.  “We’ve trained during preseason and at every practice to move at a speed faster than our competition.

Against LaCrosse, Block had nine kills and 27 digs followed by Schweigert with eight kills and Greybar with seven kills and 13 digs.

“We never gave up on Friday, we kept fighting,” said head coach Kimberly Nelson-Brown. “This team has great cohesion.”

On Saturday, IWU struggled to bring home a maintain their winning ways, falling to St. Catherine and then to the host school St. Mary’s.

Against St. Catherine, senior Maddie Greybar was a powerhouse on the court with nine kills.  Greybar and Block continued to lead the team, both with 10 digs while first-year Nicole Bing added nine digs and 12 set assists. Sophomore Colleen Rynne had an impressive team-high 13 set assists.

Against St. Mary’s, Block continued her strong play providing eight kills and seven digs, followed by Schweigert who had six. Rynne led the Titans with 21 assists.

“Our first weekend didn’t produce all the wins we wanted, but it painted a picture of what we can do,” Schweigert said. “In the win over Gustavus Adolphus, we took risks that paid off.”

“Right now for us to be successful, we simply need to control what we can control,” Nelson-Brown said.  “I believe we are more well-rounded offensively than we’ve been in the last couple years. We’re implementing some new things so it will take time to make those adjustments but I’m really liking what I see so far.”

The Titans will look to bounce back and implement some of those adjustments this weekend in the Barker Chevrolet Classic I on Friday, Sep. 5 at the Shirk Athletic Center.  They will compete against Greenville College at 3:30 p.m. and Ohio Northern at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, followed by Lake Forest at 10:00 a.m. and Calvin College at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday.