UNO’s volleyball win Tuesday over Syracuse might have made previous losses to Arkansas State and Sam Houston State a little harder to take.
“When we have the opportunity to beat a team, we need to take care of it,” UNO coach Rose Shires said. “That was our disappointment last weekend. If you can win a set (which the Mavs did in both losses), I feel like you can win the match. We didn’t complete those matches and play at the level we can play at.”
The Mavericks, already 4-3 this season after winning just five times in 2011, are back on the floor this weekend at the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational hosted by Missouri State. And there may be a couple of winnable matches.
The Mavs play defending Mid-American Conference champion and NCAA tournament participant Northern Illinois at 10 a.m. Friday, then play Saturday matches at 10 a.m. against Connecticut and at 5 p.m. against New Orleans.
Northern Illinois, 28-7 last year, is picked to finish fourth in the MAC’s West Division and is off to a 3-5 start. The Huskies’ roster includes Tori Halbur of Millard West, who averages 1.2 kills per set.
UConn is picked to finish 10th in the Big East (Syracuse was picked fifth) after going 14-15 last year. UConn is 4-3 this season and has one common opponent with UNO: The Mavs swept Hartford, while UConn beat Hartford in four sets.
New Orleans has ridden a re-classification roller coaster the past three years, deciding in late 2009 to transition from Division I to Division III, deciding a little more than a year later to move to Division II instead and then deciding six months ago to remain in Division I after all.
The Privateers went 2-22 last year against nearly all non-Division I teams, but are 3-2 this year against Division I foes.
If UNO, which regularly plays seven freshmen, is able to pick up a set this weekend, Shires wants to repeat it.
“What we’re working on now, especially with some of the young kids, is sustaining,” she said. “They’re going to make freshman errors — (Tuesday’s win) was actually probably the most we’ve had all year, but we were able to make up for it with kills.”
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