St. Edward’s volleyball team finishes losing season with a win

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St. Edward’s volleyball team finishes losing season with a win

The St. Edward's University volleyball team's season came to an end Nov. 14, missing the playoffs after a 8-20 record.

The St. Edward's University volleyball team's season came to an end Nov. 14, missing the playoffs after a 8-20 record.

The St. Edward's University volleyball team's season came to an end Nov. 14, missing the playoffs after a 8-20 record.

The St. Edward's University volleyball team's season came to an end Nov. 14, missing the playoffs after a 8-20 record.

Amanda Gonzalez

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Editor’s Note: This story has been updated throughout.

St. Edward’s University volleyball Head Coach Mary DeJute finished her first season at St. Edward’s University with a win.

The Hilltoppers finished their match against Dallas Baptist University in a 3-1 set victory on Nov. 14 to conclude their season with a 8-20 (6-10 Heartland Conference) record.

“This is the best our offense has run in some time. Our defense was scrappy and had relentless pursuit for every ball. It was great to see them work hard, stay focused and have fun,” DeJute said.

Despite losing the first set of the match 25-21, the Hilltoppers were not going to down without a fight. 

In the second set, the Hilltoppers were down 11-8, but once St. Edward’s called a timeout, the team seemed to be jolted. St. Edward’s then scored four straight points to take the lead, and continued for a 25-23 win.

The third set provided strong defense as the Hilltoppers won 25-21 to take the in the match, 2-1.

In set No. 4, the Hilltoppers played a close game and managed to secure a 25-22 win in the final set.

Overall season leaders in kills were freshman outside hitter Mikayla Grill and sophomore outside hitter Katie Martin, who also led the team in successful serves. On defense, freshman libero Morgan Beckham averaged 5.04 digs per set.

Last season, under the direction of Head Coach Sean Donahue, the Hilltoppers finished 19-8 and advanced to the 2014 Heartland Conference championship where they lost in a five-set match against No. 1 Arkansas-Fort Smith. 

Although this season did not have the same regular season success, the Hilltoppers wanted to finish their season with a win.

Looking back at the start of the season, the Hilltoppers won their season opener at home on Sept. 3 against Southwestern Oklahoma State University, followed by two tournament losses on Sept. 4.

“This isn’t the season any of us expected or worked toward. You can never plan for injuries or illnesses especially in the amount we had this season. The team still worked hard and pushed each other to get better every day,” DeJute said. 

The first Heartland Conference game of the season was a three-set sweep against Oklahoma Panhandle State University on Sept. 9.

The rest of the season would have scattered wins in between losing streaks. The Hilltoppers had three separate five-match losing streaks over the season, but managed to win 3-2 against school rival St. Mary’s University on Sept. 19.

In October, St. Edward’s won three Heartland Conference matches 3-1 against the University of Texas-Permian Basin, Oklahoma Panhandle State and Texas A&M International University.

“This team will use this challenging season to springboard them to success. Sometimes adversity is a big motivator which I see this season being for the returning players,” DeJute said.

“Being a new team, it has been a process of learning. Everyone earned playing experience which will assist going forward. Our young players now know what it takes to win in the Heartland Conference,” DeJute says about the 14 returning players. “Saturday was a glimpse of what the future holds for this team. I’m excited to start working for the future.”