Volleyball’s season comes to an end, just missing playoffs

The St. Edward’s University’s volleyball season came to an end Nov. 15 after a heart-breaking loss in the Heartland Conference Tournament championship game.

The volleyball team was able to make it all the way to the final game in the tournament against the University of Arkansas Fort Smith. The team was up by two sets in the best of five game, but would drop the next three and see their chances of making it to the NCAA tournament slip through their fingers. The conference winner receives an automatic bid to the national playoffs.

“Our expectations were to win the conference tournament and go to the NCAA tournament,” Head Coach Sean Donahue said. “We finished as close as you can without accomplishing our goals, we lost in the 5th set by two points in the conference finals.”

The team fell short of its expectations, but not every player thought that this season was a complete loss.

“I thought we performed well as a team and even though we were unable to make it to the NCAA tournament, we were able to gain valuable lessons that will help us as we enter into next season,” player Jessica Bushong said.

Overall, the volleyball team was able to compile a 19-8 record and went 11-5 in conference play. It’s much improved over last year’s dismal 14-16 record.

There will be a bunch of new faces on the squad next season. The team is losing six seniors who have contributed a large role to this year’s team.

“Recruiting never ends; we signed five players in early signing earlier in November and hope to sign a few more,” Donahue said. “Since we will have many new faces next year, the team will be working hard on getting to know the new players and building relationships in the off season.”

The team will be relatively young next year, and they look to improve off of a season the ended with a tough loss.

“It was disappointing to see the volleyball team come up short when it counted most. Hopefully they will be able to improve as they head into next year,” sophomore Carl Basbas said.

With a new wave of players coming next fall, the volleyball program will look to improve after a disappointing finish in the conference tournament and aim to make the national tournament.