Sep 9, 2013
BEAUMONT – With the 2013 Southland Conference opener on the horizon for the Lamar volleyball team, improvement has been on the mind of head coach Justin Gibert and his freshmen-laden Lady Cardinals as they prepare to take on Rice on Tuesday at McDonald Gym.
“Our goal is to get better every day,” Gibert said. “We have a lot of young players, and at this point, and every match right now is an opportunity to learn and improve. We haven’t always been on the winning side of the scoreboard, but I think we’ve continued to get better.”
The Last Meeting
August 25, 2007
The team, which currently holds a 1-7 record, has depended on a plethora of first year players through the first two weeks, especially along the front line.
“With the exception of Madi Martin and Cortney Moore, every hitter that we’ve had on the court has been a freshman,” Gibert explained. “Even with Madi, it’s her first year hitting. We just have to be better. I can’t fault them for not being as efficient in some areas, but we need to be learning and getting better as we push through these Rice and Sam Houston matches.”
Moore and Martin have combined for just over four kills per set this season with the rest of the offense coming from a crop of freshmen that includes Chelsea Grant (1.16 per game), Sara Landis (1.33), Nicole Parish (1.44) and Cedar Young (1.38). Fellow freshman Alexa Johnson has played as the primary setter much of the year, dishing out 7.67 assists per set.
Defensively, the Lady Cards have gotten much of their blocking prowess from Grant, who is averaging 1.12 blocks per frame with a total of 21 for the season, including seven of the solo variety. Fellow middles Moore and Landis have also earned their fair share of stoppers, putting up 21 combined, and Martin has posted 14.
Megan Schwartz has been a stalwart defensive presence, with 4.43 digs per set. Erika Rojas has added 1.96, and the trio of Martin, Johnson and freshman Lauren Stahlman each chip in just over one per game.
Rice is coming into the week with a 1-5 record after dropping matches to LSU and UALR over the weekend at the Rice Invitational. They did pick up a win in the event opener this past Friday, sweeping past Southland member Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The meeting marks the first between the two schools since the Owls came back to win a five-set thriller in Houston in 2007.
The match also serves as the last before the start of conference season, which will begin on Friday against Sam Houston State in Huntsville.
First serve on Tuesday is scheduled for 7 p.m.