Special to the Sun
St. Catharine College volleyball coach Juanita Mangan is quick to point out to her players how tough the early schedule has been, which has resulted in the Patriots getting off to an 0-11 start in their first season of competition in the NAIA.
“I pulled up the combined records of all of the teams just to show what good competition we have faced so far,” Mangan said. “No, they are not discouraged at this point. They are looking forward to the conference (Mid-South) schedule. As I told them, these matches we have played so far are just to get us ready for the conference, which is the most important.”
The Patriots’ most recent action was last weekend when they traveled to Chicago for the St. Xavier University Invitational. In the two-day tournament St. Catharine dropped four matches. Those losses, all 3-0, came against Goshen (Indiana), Huston-Tillitson (Texas), University of St. Francis (Illinois) and University of St. Mary (Kansas).
The Patriots’ schedule remains busy this week. Tuesday they played at Midway College and Thursday they visit Brescia in Owensboro. On Saturday they are back home for a tripleheader.
St. Catharine will play Oakland City University at noon and West Virginia Tech, a conference opponent, at 4 p.m. In between those two games, at 2 p.m., Oakland will play West Virginia Tech.
Mangan is hoping to get leading hitter Samantha Gehler back for the weekend if not sooner. Gehler has been out two weeks with an ankle sprain. Mangan also looks to remedy what she sees as the team’s biggest weakness to this point.
“Our biggest problem so far is in serve receive,” added Mangan. “”We are just not consistent. We are averaging about 14 digs a game so when we handle the serve we are playing well. But we are only 62 percent in serve receive success so we can’t get our offense going.”