Iowa volleyball tries to find motivation in rough season


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Motivation can often be a difficult attribute to attain.

So what happens when a sports team finds itself near the end of a two-season stretch that has only included three conference wins? The Hawkeye volleyball team faces that situation.

“It’s definitely hard to get motivated when we can’t attain the goals we want or that we haven’t been winning,” said Iowa libero Bethany Yeager said. “And it is tough to find motivation after a long season of not getting what we want, so we have to find motivation within ourselves.”

Iowa volleyball is in the midst of yet another rough season. It is on a 10-game losing streak and holds a 2-14 conference record with just four games to play. Last year, the Hawkeyes finished 1-11 in the Big Ten.

Since Iowa’s sweep of then-no. 12 Purdue on Oct. 6, the Hawkeyes have surrendered 25-straight sets.

The Hawkeyes’ struggles can be partially attributed to the Big Ten’s grueling conference schedule.

The conference ranks five teams in the top-25, and two other teams have received votes.

Given the injuries and a key suspension the Hawkeyes have endured, a schedule like that would be grueling for just about any team.

“I don’t think it’s all about motivation; at times, we’re just not as skilled as the other team, and that’s sports in general,” head coach Sharon Dingman said. “I couldn’t tell you how Wisconsin is going to come out and perform Friday night. We’re just trying to control what we can control, which is ourselves. It’s just about taking what’s in your control and doing the best with it.”

Allison Straumann is the lone senior on the team and is all too familiar with losing and its effects — the Hawkeyes have won a total of 10 conference matches during her career.

“There are definitely certain times were you can be shaken in the games and think, ‘Wow, what’s happening?’ and that’s where passion steps in,” she said. “Work ethic is something you can always control yourself. If you’re trying and doing everything in your ability to try to be better, and it’s not working out, that’s all that really matters.”

Straumann is inching closer to her last game as a Hawkeye, and that often helps her ignore the trials of a losing team.

“It hasn’t hit me yet that I’m going to be done, but I’m trying to use that to motivate me,” the Cary, Ill., native said. “This is going to be my last time playing on a team with a record, so I need to make the most of every time I step onto the court and every time I put on an Iowa uniform.”

Straumann isn’t alone. Her teammates — who still can improve on their careers — are working to end this season on a positive note and repeat that trend in the future.

“We have to keep looking forward and understand that we can’t change the past,” Yeager said.

“We’ve been coming into [practice] and trying to stay motivated even though we’re not getting what we want. Right now, we’re just focusing on Wisconsin and what we can do this weekend to better ourselves.”

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