By Zachary Lucero
LOGOS STAFF WRITER
Volleyball took center stage Sept. 9-10 as the women hosted the Cardinal Classic at Alice McDermott Convocation Center.
The classic was the first tournament at the University of the Incarnate Word since UIW began moving up to Division I. Besides the home team, the tournament Texas Southern, Prairie View A&M and Fresno State.
The Cardinals opened up the tournament with 3-0 sweeps against Prairie View and Texas Southern, which were the Cardinals’ first home wins of the season after going 5-3 at home last year. However, the third match of the tournament did not go the home team’s way as they lost 3-0 to Fresno State who boasted an undefeated record for the weekend.
Sophomore outside hitter Autumn Lockley, a rehabilitative sciences major from Leander, Texas, finished the tournament with a team-leading 41 kills, while as a team the Cardinals hit .297. Junior setter Madison Williams, an education major from New Braunfels, finished the tournament with 81 assists.
Blocking was also a big factor for the Cardinals all tournament as they outblocked their opponents 14-13 for the weekend.
“When it’s crunch time, you gotta think about taking over and have a nothing-gets-past-me attitude,” said junior middle blocker Bryauna Hall, an early childhood education major from Copperas Cove, Texas, about her mentality when it comes to blocking.
That mentality helped lead the Cardinals into a great weekend at the net.
Sophomore defensive specialist Brittany Muller, a biology major from San Antonio, said she credited the home crowd for “creating a fun and competitive environment which gives us a competitive edge over our opponents, especially for multiple games in a row.”
The UIW fans were in full force over the tournament weekend as the volleyball games drew an average of 370 people for each of the three games. Multiple sports showed their support for the Fresno State game as that game had the highest attendance of the weekend at 510 attendees.
Williams recognized the connection she had with her hitters as a key to her big numbers.
“My hitters and I just had a really good connection, and we were able to build that connection even more throughout the tournament because it was so many games in a row,” Williams said. “We had a great week of practice leading up to the tournament, so I had a feeling it was going to be a good weekend.”
Following the tournament, the Cardinals fell victims to a five-game losing streak, which included conference foes Stephen F Austin and Abilene Christian. Those losses have brought their conference record down to 1-3.
“We still have room to grow, which makes me very excited especially since I have seen such bright moments from this team,” said Williams.
The team is very young; seven of the 13 women on the team are underclassmen. Two different setters have played for the Cardinals — Williams and junior Sierra Moses of the Austin-Round Rock area who transferred to the team from Panola Junior College in Carthage, Texas.
However, after a short trip to Prairie View, UIW hopes to rattle off seven conference wins, as they play seven conference opponents in a row, four of which will be at home.
“We believe we have the ability to put up a fight against every team on the rest of our schedule,” Muller said. “If we were to play to our fullest potential, we are a team that will be really tough to beat.”
The Cardinals next home game is Oct. 6 against Sam Houston State who is 6-9 on the season so far but is 0-2 in conference.