The Catamount Volleyball team is struggling this season to produce wins and have fallen to ninth place in the Southern Conference with a conference record of 3&12. After sweeping the Wofford Terriers 3-0 on Oct. 14, the Cats lost four consecutive games to Furman, Chattanooga, UNC-Greensboro, and Elon. In the four straight losses, the Catamounts failed to win a set, and were swept in each match. Head coach Stephanie Dragan believes that her team is talented enough to have won all those games. Working hard and showing effort are the two key things that Dragan believes would have turned those losses into key wins for the team. “We have lost a few matches in five games with a lot of heart and effort. And those losses hurt. However, we have also lost a few matches in three games with not half the heart and effort in other matches,” stated Coach Dragan. In the Oct. 14 sweep against Wofford (30-24, 30-26, 30-22), the Catamounts were paced by Junior Meredith Harmon, Senior Heather Koontz and Freshman Liz Rondone. Harmon recorded a match-high 12 kills, and had just one error in the contest. She finished the match with a .524 attack percentage. Koontz also finished in double figures with 10 kills, and recorded eight digs as well. On the defensive end, the Catamounts were led by Rondone who finished the match with 17 digs. The Catamounts looked unbeatable against the Terriers as they hit .327 on the night, their second highest percentage of the season. The following game against third place Furman, however, was a different story. The Paladins swept the Catamounts (30-20, 30-19, 30-19) thus causing the four-game losing streak to begin. Dragan believes that inconsistent play is what caused the Catamounts to lose to the Paladins and begin their downward spiral. “Our play is inconsistent, one minute we’re sweeping a team, the next we’re being swept. Once we make up our minds to play hard, we do and it is enjoyable to watch,” stated Dragan. Once again Meredith Harmon and Liz Rondone stepped up for the Catamounts against Furman. Harmon led with 16 kills and finished with a .433 attack percentage. The double-digit performance from Harmon was her 12th of the season. Dragan feels that once Harmon is in a rhythm, that it is hard for any school to stop her and slow her down. “Meredith Harmon has done an outstanding job with attacking. Everyone in our conference knows that we rely on Meredith to produce kills for us and that we give her the ball a lot. Meredith has been double blocked by every opponent and she still manages to score for us,” stated Dragan. Also performing well on offense for the Catamounts against Furman was freshman Katie Hennessy as she finished with seven kills and 24 assists. On the defensive side, Rondone led the way with 15 digs. Harmon’s double digit output continued in a losing effort to the Chattanooga Mocs on Oct. 17. Chattanooga swept the Catamounts 30-20, 30-18, 30-21, and was the Catamounts second consecutive winless match. Harmon was the lone Catamount in double digits as she recorded 11 kills against the Mocs, marking her thirteenth double-figure output of the year. On defense, the Catamounts got another top-notch performance from Liz Rondone, but she received some help from seniors Meghan Boyle and Heather Koontz. Rondone finished the game with 14 digs, while Boyle led with 15. Koontz recorded 10 digs and had eight kills on the offensive end. The Catamount’s losing ways continued against the Spartans of UNC-Greensboro. The Spartans handed the Cats their third consecutive loss and their third consecutive sweep. UNC-G swept Western 3-0 (30-26, 30-19, and 30-19). Freshman Lauren Brown played her best game of the season as she led with 10 kills in the losing effort. Heather Koontz also played well for the offense as she finished with seven kills. Rondone, Boyle, and Hennessy helped the defensive side with 17, 13, and 10 digs respectively. Hennessy dished out 18 assists in the contest, which was the only double-double on the night. Dragan’s goal as head is to see each member on the team improve their skills on the volleyball court. She has been impressed with the way her upperclassmen and the underclassmen have improved as the season continues. “I will do everything in my power to improve each individual. The freshmen do have a higher ceiling of improvement for the simple fact that they are freshmen and are still learning the difference between high school and college volleyball. I am confident that the freshmen will continue to improve thus strengthen our chances in the SoCon,” stated coach Dragan. The following game against the Elon Phoenix on Oct. 21 was another loss and another sweep for the Cats. The Phoenix defeated the Catamounts 3-0 (30-20, 30-24, and 30-22). Five players stepped up for the Catamounts and performed very well in the losing effort against the Phoenix. Koontz led the Cats with 14 kills, while Harmon ended with a total of nine. Rondone carried the defense with 21 kills, and Boyle added 10. In the losing effort, however, Hennessy recorded 31 assists. Following four straight losses and sweeps, the Catamounts quickly rebounded and ended the losing skid by sweeping Wofford again, taking the seasonal sweep on the Terriers. However, the Cats have lost two straight since then. They fell 3-1 to Georgia Southern and were swept by East Tennessee State. With three more Southern Conference games on the schedule, the Catamounts know that it is time to start preparing for the SoCon Tournament. Dragan believes that the Cats have what it takes to win the Southern Conference Tournament; however, it’s all up to the girls to win it. “I believe that the seniors will step their game up in time for the tourney. With the SoCon tournament being single elimination, I hope the seniors will play every ball like it is their last ball of their career. If they play with that urgency, we will be successful,” stated Dragan. Maybe with wins against Furman, The Citadel, and the College of Charleston, the Catamounts can climb a little higher in the final SoCon season standings.