With only five games left in the regular season of play, the Minnesota State University Mankato Mavericks volleyball team seeks to end their season on a high note. Even if playoffs may be out of the question, they still are determined to not waste the rest of the season.
Before they depart on the final road trip of the regular season, the Mavericks prepare for tonight’s Matchup against the Winona State Warriors at 6 p.m. in the Taylor Center. Especially, after suffering back-to-back losses against the UMD Bulldogs and the St. Cloud State Huskies. The Mavericks desperately are looking to get win number six and build momentum as they prepare to hit the road.
Even for a record of 5-8, the Mavericks have shown a lot of growth while being led by second-year coach Corey Phelps. It seems that the group has not only grown closer as a family but showing player growth and improvement on the court. One player who has shown significant improvement in the last few games is sophomore outside hitter Toryn Richards. The native of Cleveland, Minn. has compiled double-digit kills in the last four out of five games for the Mavericks.
“I think that I have noticed a lot of improvements in my second year. Particularly in my serving which has been up, and my blocking which my first year was only two, and now is double digits. It really was the stuff that I worked on over the summer and getting stronger at my position,” said Richards.
The group will need all the assistance as they prepare to take on the 7-6 Winona State Warriors. Even for their record, they still are a team that shouldn’t be overlooked in the slightest. The main storyline going into this contest is the tag team of senior middle blocker Madison Larson and junior right side Sidney Paulson. Both ladies are the top two kill leaders on their team and in the top ten in kills for the conference. They are essentially the team’s catalyst on the offensive side of the ball.
Even with a big matchup like this, the Mavericks are in no way rattled by the challenge that is about to enter their house. The objective for them seems to be worrying about controlling the battle for points early and not focusing on winning the game every second.
“Our mindset is trying to go out and get the first point. Often, teams go out there and try to focus on winning the game. Collectively as a team, we are going for that one point and just repeating it until we get the job done,” said Richards.
Header Photo: The Minnesota State University, Mankato’s volleyball team will play today in the Taylor Center at 6 p.m. (file photo)
Write to Charlie Groebner at Charles.Groebner@mnsu.edu