Volleyball: Individual efforts not yielding wins

Jordan Helton

Figuring out how to turn great individual effort into wins has been Northwestern’s story all year.

While many individual players have set season and career highs in several games this season, their efforts have not translated into wins.

But the Wildcats make no excuses about this year’s results so far.

Sophomore Sabel Moffett said the real problem is that the team is holding itself back. They need to work on their own problems, and only then will NU (7-15, 1-10 Big Ten) be able to succeed.

“Even though an individual played well, as a whole you didn’t get the outcome you wanted,” Moffett said. “With the Big Ten there’s such strong competition we need all six players to show up instead of individuals.”

The Cats will try to come together for just their second Big Ten win in Saturday’s game against Michigan State (11-10, 3-7).

The individual effort from NU has been impressive all season. Junior libero Kate Nobilio is on track to take over the all-time digs mark in the program’s history by the end of the season. And in the Cats’ loss to No. 25 Wisconsin, sophomore Elyse Glab became only the ninth person in school history to reach the 2,000 assist mark.

Those individual accomplishments are a great help to a team that has been struggling this season to achieve its goals.

Personal honors are seen as a positive and can sometimes be a catalyst for the team.

“Good teams will recognize that good players can help them get out of a funk,” coach Keylor Chan said. “Every night there’s a lot on the line.”

On nights when some of the players have career-high games, the team feeds off of each other’s motivation and energy. One hustle play can inspire the team to go an extra step or dive for a ball just out of reach.

But the efforts of individuals cannot always make up for the entire team.

“Individual accolades are always great but those never happen without the team, Chan said. “They’re special but still related to the team’s success. We need to work on being a better team.”

The Cats continue to work on meshing their individual efforts with the team as a whole. Combining those things is another little thing that can determine wins or losses.

“We’re growing but not always seeing tangible growth,” Chan said. “Great teams understand the difference between process and goals. We have an opportunity to see how good a team we can become.”

The team is still confident in their ability to have a positive end to the season.

“We’ve been training and improving daily,” Moffett said. “There’s still time to redeem and figure our game out.”

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