The Ravens volleyball team were looking to gain momentum heading into the conference season as they traveled to Jacksonville, Illinois to participate in the Illinois College Invitational. On Friday night, the Ravens split their matches, losing three sets to one against Augustana, before rebounding to defeat Monmouth three sets to zero.
Sophomore outside hitter Courtney Copp recorded a double-double in the Augustana match, racking up 10 kills and 13 digs. Senior libero Megan Wade, who was named to the all-tournament team, chipped in 26 digs. In the victory over Monmouth, Riley Troyer-Anderson and Sydney Coffman combined for 35 assists.
Saturday, the Ravens split again, losing their first match to tournament host Illinois College three sets to zero, before once again rebounding to defeat Robert Morris three sets to zero. Copp recorded another double-double in the loss to Illinois College, with 15 digs and 12 kills. Troyer-Anderson posted one as well, with 21 assists and 19 digs. In the defeat of Monmouth, Troyer-Anderson again shined, tallying 19 digs, 14 assists, as well as two aces.
Coming off of the four game split at the Invitational, Anderson prepares to enter conference play with a 6-10 record. Projected to finish ninth in the HCAC, the Ravens look to exceed expectations for conference play.
“Our ranking gave us motivation both in and out of practice,” said Copp. She added that the goal for the team is to finish top four in the conference and to finish with a winning season.
Only the four teams with the best conference record qualify for the conference tournament. In the 2015 season, the Ravens finished with a 1-8 record in conference, leaving them ninth in the end-of-season conference standings.
Copp, however, believes the team is much improved from last season. “I believe the team dynamic has undergone a great change,” she said. “We welcomed in a lot of young talent that is complemented well by our veteran experience.”
The team is focused on executing the fundamentals and tightening up small details that could make a big difference between winning and losing games. “We want to minimize errors on our side. We need to come out with confidence because we can beat a lot of the teams in our conference,” Copp said.
The Ravens open conference play tonight at 7:00 p.m. against Mount St. Joseph University inside of O.C. Lewis Gymnasium. Graduate Assistant Coach Diego Gutierrez is optimistic about conference play, saying, “I am excited for what is to come for the rest of the season.” He went on to urge Raven fans to pack OC Lewis, saying, “We would love support at our home conference games. God Bless and Go Ravens!”