Volleyball, soccer gain winning streaks

Both men’s soccer and women’s volleyball achieved three-game winning streaks this season along with ASC honors for their offensive and defensive players. Photo by Nikita Bantey | Mercury Staff.

The men’s soccer and women’s volleyball teams have earned player honors and American Southwest Championship victories as they move into the final stretch of matches before the championships.

The men’s soccer team is currently leading with a five-game winning streak. Women’s volleyball ended September with a three-game winning streak and continued with a series of wins from games held on Oct. 12 and 13.

The soccer team ended September with three shutout wins and is currently undefeated in ASC play. The victories against Louisiana College, Belhaven and Howard Payne led to freshman forward Jovi Munoz and sophomore goalkeeper Max Dier to be nominated for ASC offensive and defensive players of the week, respectively. Munoz made his third game-winning goal of the season against Louisiana and added a goal on just two shots in the game against Belhaven. Dier made four saves against Howard Payne, a season high for him. This is the second season Dier has played for the team, and he attributed the team’s greater success this year to the group’s all-around chemistry.

“You can see that the team chemistry (is great) both on and off the field,” Dier said. “Off the field, we’re always hanging out, and on the field, we really flow well together which gives us the edge we need.”

The team opened October by playing two teams it had lost against last season, Mary Hardin-Baylor and Concordia Texas. This season, the Comets beat both, scoring 3-1 against Mary Hardin-Baylor and 3-0 against Concordia. With four games left in the season, men’s soccer head coach Jason Hirsch said he isn’t worried about the team losing momentum because of the routine they’ve built.

“It’s at that point now where you’re in a routine, a couple of practices to start the week, (a) game on Thursday, another one on Saturday,” Hirsch said. “We’re just in that groove right now where we’re working on things early in the week and playing the games at the end.”

Women’s volleyball powered through most of the season and currently stands at 7-1 in the ASC and 12-6 overall. Toward the end of the month, the team will play at the Washington University Tournament in St. Louis. ASC honored several of the team’s players, including junior middle blocker Lauren Schilling, who earned Defensive Player of the Week three times in a row, with the most recent one from the game against California Lutheran where she averaged 1.69 blocks per set. The team had a three-game winning streak that ended when it played Southwestern on Oct. 5. Senior outside hitter Sydney Riordan said the team will push forward with the end of the season now in sight.

“The team is feeling a little tired now that the season has been going on for a while, but this is the time that we must push the hardest,” Riordan said. “It’s easy to come in and work hard in August, but working hard in October is what we really focus on to continue to get better and hopefully win another conference championship.”

This season, the team has mostly played away from home. Alison said the team has improved at playing away games, evident in the team’s match against East Texas Baptist in Marshall, Texas where the team won 3-0.

“Traveling and playing on the same day is always hard,” Allison said. “I was really proud of them — that was probably the best we’ve played in a long while.”

The volleyball team will have seven more games before the regular season ends, while men’s soccer has four left. After the regular season ends, the top teams in the region will compete in the ASC Championship. The date and location have not yet been released, but in the past, it has been held at UTD.

Riordan said that the team is constantly improving and looking to face the challenges ahead.

“The challenges we can expect to face are staying focused on the little steps that will lead us to where we ultimately want to be.” Riordan said. “We also must continue to improve, and not become content with where we are, so we can be the best team possible when the time for post-season comes around.”

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