The Harding University Lady Bisons volleyball team began their 2021 season at the Washburn Tournament in Topeka, Kansas, this past weekend. On Friday, Sept. 3, the 19th-ranked Lady Bisons lost to 25th-ranked Rockhurst University 3-0 and 8th-ranked Washburn University 3-0. On Saturday, Sept. 4, the Lady Bisons responded with a 3-1 win over 15th-ranked Northern State University and a 3-1 win over unranked Cameron University, improving to a 2-2 record for the season. The Lady Bisons were without junior outside hitter Logan Smith, who was held out of competition due to a concussion. Junior outside hitter Ally Stoner and junior middle back Libby Hinton were named to the All-Tournament team.
The Lady Bisons competed against four non-conference opponents during the two-day tournament. Of those four opponents, three were ranked nationally in the NCAA Division II top 25. Stoner said the elite competition provided a great learning opportunity for the team.
“I felt like each game we kept climbing,” Stoner said. “We got better and better each match. It is always super fun playing teams that you don’t normally see. It brings new challenges and makes us better. This weekend has been a great learning experience for our team.”
After competing in an abbreviated season in spring 2021, the volleyball team is playing its first full conventional fall season since fall 2019. The Lady Bisons are grateful for an opportunity to once again compete alongside their teammates under normal circumstances.
“COVID taught our team how to be thankful in the midst of obstacles, and it is definitely a blessing to be given the opportunity to have a regular season,” junior defensive specialist Kinley Schnell said. “We are soaking up every second of normalcy.”
The Lady Bisons are competing in the Texas-Tyler Tournament on Sept. 10 and 11. Sophomore outside hitter Chloe Ingersoll said last weekend’s tournament was a great learning experience for the team, and they are prepared to capitalize on those learning opportunities at the upcoming Texas-Tyler Tournament.
“This weekend was a great opportunity for us to establish and get familiar with what we thrive in and what we need to improve on,” Ingersoll said. “It was really cool to see our saying ‘16 Strong’ come to life as so many stepped up to big roles for us to succeed. We hope to tap into those big roles as we continue tournament play next weekend.”