By JACK VANASSCHE, Staff Writer
It was a week of lessons learned for the Wolverines.
Hot off of a six-game winning streak, the University of Michigan-Dearborn volleyball team (7-7, 1-3 Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference) ran into some trouble last week as they dropped all three of their games.
On Sept. 14, the Wolverines welcomed conference rival Indiana Tech to the new and improved Fieldhouse for their home opener.
The Warriors (9-5, 3-1 WHAC) overpowered the Wolverines on their way to a clean sweep, winning 3-0 (6-25, 16-25, 11-25). A negative hitting percentage from their 15 attacking errors bogged down UM-Dearborn.
With one of the younger teams in the conference, head coach Eric Stark knew to turn the rough loss into a learning opportunity.
“After our Indy Tech game we made a concerted effort to focus on the things that matter on a weekly basis, and not all of the other little distractions,” Stark said. “We made big changes in just one day of practice.”
Two days later the Wolverines hosted Concordia looking to put their next foot forward.
Unfortunately, Concordia pulled away from the Wolverines in each set, winning 3-0. A disappointing first set that saw the Wolverines fall 9-25 prompted Stark to remind his team of what they had just learned.
“In the first set we allowed distractions to get the better of us. In sets two and three we did a great job of refocusing on the things that mattered.”
In the second and third sets, the Wolverines battled back and forth but eventually could not keep up as they dropped them 18-25 and 19-25, respectively.
Taylor Bejma shined as she tallied a game-high nine digs. She received some praise from her head coach.
“Taylor’s just a sophomore,” said Stark. “She continues to grow and learn, and that was a match where she stepped it up.”
Saturday, the Wolverines dropped their match to Davenport in straight sets. The Panthers (4-8, 1-3 WHAC) struggled to put away the Wolverines on multiple occasions, thanks in large part to the offensive efforts of junior Colby DeMare who finished with nine kills.
After dropping the first set 16-25, the Wolverines and Panthers locked into a battle during the second set in an intense back and forth matchup. The two teams tied at 4-4 and continued to answer each other’s points until the two were deadlocked at 22-22.
From that point, Davenport took off and did not look back. The young Wolverines dropped set two 22-25 and then set three by a score of 10-25.
Stark says that he expects his team to grow from the experience.
“We made a lot of progress this week,” he said. “We were competitive against Concordia and Davenport, and [Davenport] was nationally ranked last year.”
“As we continue to change the culture and change our mentality, we need to learn how to finish those sets and learn how to win.”
Looking ahead to next week, the Wolverines will look to turn their lessons learned into victories. They take on the scuffling Grace Bible College Tigers on Tuesday before traveling to 17th-ranked Madonna on Wednesday.