Marshall volleyball team to compete in Panther Invitational

The Marshall University volleyball team will play the Wake Forest Demon Deacons Friday in the Panther Invitational in High Point, North Carolina.

The Herd (6-1) will play the Demon Deacons at 4:30 p.m. The Herd is also scheduled to play a doubleheader Saturday against tournament-host High Point (4-4) at 10:30 a.m. and the Davidson Wildcats (3-4) at 5 p.m.

Heading into the weekend, sophomore Taylor Pelton and junior Cassie Weaver lead the Marshall team in kills with 98 and 91, respectively.

“[Pelton] has the ability to blossom as a leader eventually,” assistant coach Taylor Strickland said. “She’s come in this season working her butt off, and it showed that she worked hard over the summer. The first day of preseason you could tell she improved tremendously.”

Following the team’s lone loss of the season against New Hampshire, the coaches had the players get together and examine their performance.

“We focused more on ourselves for the match the next day,” Strickland said. “Instead of giving them too much information about our opponents. We allowed them to focus more on what we need to be doing as a team, which really got them playing harder.”

“We incorporated the block into our defense again, and that’s our number one focus this year.””

— Taylor Strickland

As a result, the following day, the Herd defeated both Stony Brook and Boston College by a score of 3-2.

“Our defense showed,” Strickland said. “We incorporated the block into our defense again, and that’s our number one focus this year.”

The Herd defense has been a strong point this season. The team has a 404-378 advantage in successful digs, as well as a 53-44.5 advantage in blocks through its first seven matches.

Preparation for the matches can be tedious, especially for an invitational involving a doubleheader the day after the opening match. The coaches generally prepare more for the first match of a tournament as opposed to the following matches to ensure the players can focus on one opponent at a time.

“A lot of times with these tournaments, we wait to see them play on Friday to really decide what we want to do Saturday,” Strickland said.