Spikers need consistency

Jeff Barthel

Consistency usually means maintaining a certain level of play for a certain amount of time.

Guitar players take several lessons to master each chord. Vocalists sing the same note many times to achieve a pure sound.

In sports, it takes time, patience and devotion to practice ones respective sport. After days and weeks of this, a sense of consistency could finally be attained.

When Minnesota’s 23rd-ranked volleyball team (16-7 overall, 9-2 Big Ten) hosts No. 20 Wisconsin (16-5. 8-2) tonight, the Gophers will continue to search for their brand of consistency.

“We’re gaining on it,” coach Mike Hebert said. “We’re making headway.”

His volleyball squad has won nine straight matches and is looking toward achieving consistency.

Minnesota – which has a team hitting percentage of .242 – has been hitting well above this mark as of late.

The Gophers were able to hit over the .300 mark Wednesday against Iowa.

The Hawkeyes, however, are 5-15 and have not won a game within the Big Ten.

Conversely, the .364 team hitting percentage the Gophers were able to accomplish in a victory over then-22nd-ranked Michigan State (13-7, 5-5) last Saturday was well over the Gophers’ season average.

These recent numbers show a better consistency for the Gophers in the hitting percentage department.

The Badgers’ coach also believes consistency is an important team trait.

“The team is just starting to come around and play with consistency,” Wisconsin coach Pete Waite said. “That’s what we’ve strived for all year.”

Wisconsin has won four matches in a row, including a 3-1 victory at Purdue when Minnesota lost in straight sets earlier this season.

Wisconsin’s last loss was a five game defeat to Minnesota on its home court.

The Gophers have outlasted the Badgers in their past three meetings. All have gone to five games, an idea that Gophers senior Cassie Busse is all too familiar with.

“You have to prepare yourself to play a long match,” Busse said.