KWU Volleyball falls in home opener to Missouri Valley

KWU Volleyball falls in home opener to Missouri Valley

Dustin Sahlmann knows it's going to take time for his young Kansas Wesleyan volleyball team to learn the college game individually and come together collectively.
The Coyotes' 3-0 (26-24, 25-21, 25-16) non-conference loss to Missouri Valley on Friday night inside Mabee Arena was another step in the growth process.

Despite playing its first match of the season Missouri Valley displayed ample skill and ability with a lineup that consisted of 11 athletes from foreign countries. The Vikings had an answer each time KWU made a run or had an advantage in the match.

"Those guys, the coaching that they get is probably not as technical but is more harsh," Sahlmann said, "so they learn not to let things bother them and just go out and play. We are super young and we struggle with flushing mistakes and just going on to the next ball. Even though we talk about it in practice all the time, when it's game time they don't translate practice into the game."

Case in point, the Coyotes had a 23-21 lead in the opening set, but Missouri Valley scored five of the next six points and snagged the victory. KWU led the second set 11-9 but the Vikings took control with a 7-2 run and didn't trail again.

KWU fell to 2-3 on the season but Sahlmann remains optimistic.

"We are better," he said. "We're more athletic, we're longer which leads to more competitive practices and when we have those it makes the team better for the guys who see the floor. As long as I can continue to make these guys understand that they've got to stick it out and it's process and it's not immediate we're going to be better as we continue to move forward."

Driss Gousson, an outside hitter from France, had 15 kills as Missouri Valley which hit at .323 percentage. Daniel Isernhagan, a middle blocker who hails from Brazil, had eight kills and setter Lucas Rodrigues, another Brazilian, had 38 assists.

Zayin Martinez led the Coyotes with 11 kills on a sizzling.429 percentage. Viet Nguyen and Justin Burras had seven kills apiece as KWU hit .151 percent as a team. Tyler McUne had 24 assists.

Sahlmann said consistency is the key.

"That's the age and the inexperience," he said. "We've got to do a better job of being consistent and doing a better job of not letting what's on the other side of the net impact what we do on our side of the net. That's a growing process for us."

Trailing 20-17 in the first set the Coyotes used a 6-1 run for the 23-21 advantage.

Leading 13-12 in the second set Missouri Valley responded with four consecutive points. KWU got as close as18-17 and 22-20 but couldn't tally the equalizer.

MVC raced to a 13-6 lead in the third set and the Coyotes got no closer than five (13-8) the rest of the way.

Wesleyan plays Missouri Baptist next at 7 p.m. next Friday and again at 2 p.m. a week from Saturday – both matches inside Muir Gymnasium which is adjacent to Mabee Arena.

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