November 15, 2018

Women’s volleyball breaks set record during 10-game win streak

The Gorloks volleyball team won 30 straight sets over its past 10 games, shattering a previous team record of 22 straight sets won in the 2007 season. The last time Webster lost a set was Sept. 20 against Washington University.

Along with 30 straight sets won by the Gorloks, the team took sole possession of first place in the Saint Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) with a win over MacMurray College Tuesday.

The Gorloks boosted its chances of winning the conference by beating Greenville in straight sets Oct. 10 on Greenville’s home court. That win gave the team an edge over Greenville for the opportunity to host the conference tournament.

The team that wins the conference hosts the SLIAC tournament. The Gorloks won all nine of its home games for the regular season.

“I’ll take any games at home I can get this year,” Merry Graf said, head coach of Webster University’s volleyball team.

Graf said she believed the team would have to win the rest of its games in conference play to host the SLIAC tournament. Blackburn, Fontbonne, and Spalding fill out the rest of Webster’s schedule. All those teams sit at the bottom half of the SLIAC.

Graf credited part of the team’s streak to its younger talent on the court, such as freshman middle and outside hitter Kylie Burke.

Burke has 76 kills this season and has played in nearly every game.

The Gorloks (14-7) currently hold on to a 2-game lead in the SLIAC for first-place.

“Being a freshman, it’s great knowing that coach Graf has enough confidence to put me in the starting lineup,” Burke said.

Burke said she felt nervous the first game of the season. Now, she said she turns that nervousness into excitement and anticipation.

Only the top four teams in the SLIAC will move on to the conference tournament. Greenville has won the past three. The past 12 belong to either Greenville or Webster, dating back to 2006.

Greenville is right on Webster’s toes, with only one less win in the conference.

Greenville’s remaining schedule includes a game against Westminster, a possible contender in the conference tournament.

Sophomore middle hitter Hayley Taylor said the team brought confidence in its game against Greenville.

“We were bringing a lot of energy,” Taylor said, “and knew that we were fully capable of shutting them down.”

The Gorloks bounced back in the third set after being down 21-24 to secure the win. The second set of the game was Webster’s record breaking set, making it 23 in a row at the time.

In her 18th season with the Gorloks, Coach Graf will get another shot at making it to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Tournament. The team has made the NCAA tournament five times in Graf’s coaching years at Webster, but has never made it past the first round in those chances.

Graf said the NCAA tournament brings a great atmosphere. She plans to keep pushing to get past the first round for as long as she can coach.

“I get to come to work every day and do the sport that I love with a group that I really care a lot about,” Graf said.

The 2018 SLIAC volleyball tournament will be held Saturday, Nov. 3.

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