Colonels confident that team can turn around slow start to season


Photo by: Jeffery Miller

High-fiving her team mates before taking on the UNO Privateers is #12 Anna Niederhauser, freshman from Switzerland.

The Nicholls State University volleyball team is expecting to put an end to the losing streak in Southland Conference this Saturday when they take on McNeese State University.

“Everything is still in front of us,” Tommy Harold, head coach, said. “We have a stretch of games where if we can get things going in the right direction and pull off a couple of wins, and be right back in the thick of things. But we have to play better than we are right now.”

The match against the Cowgirls will be the third home match Nicholls will host this season. The players and coaches see this match as another opportunity for the team to step forward in the development of their game performances to come out with a win.

“The players will keep pushing. They want to be on the right end of things,” Harold said. “They want to be performing at their best level and they are obviously not doing that at the moment. I think they are motivated to get past that and move forward.”

Nicholls started the conference play with six straight losses, starting with four defeats on road games and two home losses against Central Arkansas University and the University of New Orleans. The team continues to struggle with their defense and service game, as well as with a decline in their transition game.

“We sat down and looked at some of the things we are doing internally and started to put them in place,” Harold said. “Although the result didn’t show on Saturday, I think that the effort on the court improved and that is something that we can built on and step forward from.”

The Colonels (5-13, 0-6 SLC) remained winless after hosting Central Arkansas (10-10, 6-2 SLC), one of the top three teams in the conference, on Saturday, Oct. 10. Despite playing good defensive sets and being able to hold advantages in all three sets, Nicholls was unable to hold off the Sugar Bears offense, falling 3-0.

“We didn’t come out with a win,” Harold said. “But I was happy with the effort against a tough team that is Central Arkansas, a team that has been at the top of the conference for the last five or six years.”

In the first set, the Colonels were leading 17-16 until Central Arkansas stormed back on a 9-3 run, finishing 25-20. Nicholls opened the second set with a lead, but were unable to contain the Sugar Bears, who guaranteed a 25-15 set win.  The Colonels came back on the last set, tied 19-19, and traded points for the remainder of the set, but still fell short, 25-23.

“We want to improve. We want to take what we did on Saturday against Central Arkansas and build on it,” Harold said. “We think that if we play at the level of our capabilities and keep improving, then the result is going to be different.”

During their match on Tuesday, Oct. 6, the Colonels lost to the University of New Orleans for the first time in seven years.

“We started off well and I think that a big part of that was because we had such a good crowd, but for whatever reason we just let it slip,” outside hitter Kaci Eaton said. “I think that it was a huge turning point, like a eye-opener to us. We need to kick it in gear to turn it around.”

Nicholls opened the first set with a 25-18 win over the Privateers, but were unable to maintain that level of their performance on the following sets. On the second and third sets, UNO overcome the Colonels 25-12 and 25-14, respectively. Nicholls opened the forth set with a lead but the teams tied up, 16-16. The Privateers then stormed back, sealing the match, 25-20, after a 9-4 run over.

“After this game we had a couple of changes on practice and we improved,” setter Alyse Barclay said. “On Saturday, the team’s consistency was a lot better compared to Tuesday’s game, but we were not quite yet where we needed to be.”