Marshall volleyball clings to postseason chances entering final four games


The Marshall University volleyball team finds itself in eighth place in the Conference USA standings with four games remaining in the season.

With the top eight teams in the conference standings eligible for the Conference USA postseason tournament, the Herd (15-10, 6-6) must win at least two of its final four games to ensure qualification into the postseason.

“We are focusing on us right now and what we need to do to get some wins here in the last stretch of the season,” assistant coach Taylor Strickland said. “We have four very tough opponents coming up and we are doing our best to prepare the girls for those matches.”

The Herd is on a two-match losing streak, dropping its last two road matches against the University of North Carolina at Charlotte 49ers and the University of Alabama at Birmingham Blazers, both by a score of 3-2. Following the loss to UAB, Strickland said the team reflected its possible absence from the postseason with its work in practice.

“(The girls) came into our next practice after a loss to UAB ready to work and change things, and that is what we need right now,” Strickland said. “The girls just have to go out there and play every point like it is their last, no matter who the opponent is. The same goes for practice, so we are expecting lots of hard work the next two weeks.”

The Herd begins its quest for a postseason bid Wednesday at 6 p.m. against the University of Southern Mississippi (21-9, 8-5 C-USA) at the Cam Henderson center. Southern Miss is fifth in the conference standings and is close to locking up its postseason birth. The second and final home match of the season comes against Rice (18-9, 8-4 C-USA) and currently third in the standings. That match is set for 1 p.m. Friday at the Cam Henderson.

The final two road games will be critical to the Herd staying in the discussion for the C-USA tournament. The two road contests come against the top team in the conference in Western Kentucky University (24-3, 11-1 C-USA) and a team fighting for its postseason life as well in Middle Tennessee State University (8-19, 6-7 C-USA).

Marshall played both teams earlier this season, losing to Western Kentucky in the conference opener 3-1 and defeating Middle Tennessee State 3-1 Oct. 21.

Both Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee State are experiencing win streaks of their own, with WKU winning 18 of its last 19 matches while MTSU is currently on a three-match win streak.

John Fauss can be contacted at [email protected]