Nicholls volleyball looks to get back to winning ways



Nicholls volleyball will begin a pair of home matchups against the University of Central Arkansas today, followed by Oral Roberts on Saturday.

Central Arkansas holds the top spot in the Southland Conference with only one conference loss but have found themselves in close games. 

“Central Arkansas is the best in the conference right now, but a lot of teams have pushed them to five games. There is no reason for us not to believe that we can hang with them and beat them when we are at home,” head coach Patrick Hiltz said.

Oral Roberts sits only one game ahead of Nicholls, so the Colonels will be looking to improve their position with a win.  Unless the Golden Eagles can pick up a victory at Southeastern before heading to Nicholls, the Colonels will face a team Saturday without a road win.

Having both a three-game winning streak, as well as a three-game losing streak on the season, it has been an up and down season so far for the Colonels and first year coach Hiltz

“It has been like an EKG,” said Hiltz. “Sometimes we are high, and sometimes we are low. We have to find a way to get consistent. We have shown that we can play well at times, and we have shown that we can shoot ourselves in the foot at times.”

The Colonels have established a winning record at home with only a pair of losses, though they have struggled on the road, with only two wins away from Thibodaux aside from tournaments.  

“Being at home is comfortable,” Hiltz said. “It is what you are used to, and you are able to maintain a little bit better. And you are not dealing with an opposing team’s crowd. But that is why they call it a home court advantage.”

Hiltz, a defense first coach, has preached defense to the team and hopes he can couple that with better focus on what the team worked on early in the season as they move forward. There may be times when the girls are pressing too hard, according to Hiltz. The key will be to get back to fundamentals. 

“In the beginning of the season, we focused on serving and blocking, and those things were good for us,” Hiltz said. “If we can find some measure of consistency going into the end of the season, then hopefully we can bring that over into the conference tournament.”

As the season winds down with only a few weeks left, each match holds postseason implications. Currently sitting number seven in the conference, the Colonels are looking to secure a spot in the Southland Conference tournament Nov. 16 in Conway, Arkansas. 

The Colonels were picked to finish ninth in the conference preseason poll, and Hiltz would like his team to continue to exceed expectations. 

“The fact that we are sitting in seventh is definitely a plus,” Hiltz said. 

Southeastern sits close behind in the conference standings, putting pressure on the Colonels to hold their ground in the games ahead.

“If we slip up, we are going to find ourselves in that eighth spot trying to hang on,” Hiltz said. “That is not what we want to do. We want to keep pushing and get that spot secured as soon as possible and improve our seed.”

If the Colonels can hold or move up in the standings, they will have a place in the conference tournament.

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