As the Lady Bears volleyball team approached the midpoint of their season this past week, they took on a stretch of their schedule that featured some pretty stiff competition. It all started last Tuesday when the Bears hosted a tri with Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College (Moore, Okla.) and Central Christian College (McPherson, Kans.). It then concluded with a road trip south to take on Dallas Christian College (Dallas) and Arlington Baptist College (Arlington, Texas). Three of the four opponents were NCCAA DII Southwest Region teams while Central Christian is a NAIA Division II scholarship school.
Hillsdale and Barclay squared off first on Tuesday, and even though the Bears dropped the first set rather quickly 25-14, they bounced right back to take the second set 25-22. The momentum seemed to be on the side of the Bears following the second set, however, they were simply outplayed the final two sets 25-19 and 25-14.
In the Bears second match on Tuesday, they took on a formidable NAIA opponent in the Tigers of Central Christian. It was evident early on that the Tigers talent level and depth exceeded that of the Bears. Despite the difference in the rosters, the Bears competed valiantly as the Tigers would go on to win in straight sets 25-10, 25-13 and 25-16.
Friday evening after a grueling road trip to Dallas Christian, the Bears came out sluggish and unprepared for the mental fortitude it would take to play in a hostile environment against a Southwest Region opponent. In addition to taking on a quality opponent in the Crusades, the Bears were forced to deal with an unruly Crusader crowd to boot. The combination of the two took its toll and the Crusaders were able to win in straight sets. On a positive note, the Bears continued to display a relentless work ethic and good camaraderie, regardless of the circumstances. These character traits will pay dividends down the road for the Bears.
Saturday afternoon, they were across town at Arlington Baptist well-rested and hopeful for a different outcome. After a strong few opening points, Arlington flexed its muscles. They proved to be overpowering with their blockers as well as savvy with their ball placement. Once again it was a straight sets loss for the Bears, 25-15, 25-16 and 25-7. The loss dropped the Bears to 0-4 in the four team Southwest Region with two region matches remaining.
Next weekend the Bears (3-8, 3-2) will host conference foe Calvary Bible College (Belton, Mo.) on Friday night and Ozark Christian College (Joplin, Mo.) Saturday afternoon. The Bears beat Calvary in straight sets and lost to Ozark in straight sets earlier this month.