Category Archives: Wingate Volleyball

The ups and downs of a Wingate Volleyball Regional Game

Wingate Volleyball Loses region opener in 5

Zeriq Lolar, Staff Writer

The Wingate University Bulldogs went down to USC-Aiken to play their Southeast Regional game in the NCAA tournament after they were fresh off winning their 10th South Atlantic Conference tournament in 11 seasons.

They faced a close foe in the conference, the royals of Queens University. The Bulldogs had already faced the Royals three times prior this meeting, with the Bulldogs winning all three.

The Bulldogs started off hot, winning the first set 25-22. In the second set the bulldogs were cold being down 12-5 at one point, but Abby Saehler, Katie Bludau, and Oakley Attaway led them back to win the second set 25-21.

One more set win would help to finish the game, the tides turn drastically for the bulldogs. The set went to tie at 19-19 but Queens would put it away with a couple kills to win the third set 25-19.

The next set would be the same thing with a Queens taking it 25-16.

Onto the fifth set Queens was dominant on the kills and would finish the game 15-8, and win it in five sets.

The Bulldogs fought hard but the Royals just somehow found a way to come back and win.

Senior Middle Blocker Abby Saehler (Iowa City, Iowa) said, “It was not the way we had planned this. I think we got confident in being up 2-0 and then just played relaxed and couldn’t respond. We were pretty confident in our game plan for them but then we didn’t take care of the ball on our side of the net.”

Junior Outside Hitter Katie Bludau (Seabrook, Texas) had similar thoughts towards the game, “We kept with our same game and just changed up the shots. we wanted to hit where their defense was not. And we wanted to serve and pass really well. When you play a team 4 times in a season it’s hard to change your game significantly by that fourth game,” said Bludau.

With a good lasting impact Junior Kori Adams (Ayden, N.C.) had some good insight, Adams said, “Overall this season was a challenge. We had a lot of adversity this year, but we still were able to win two championships. That just goes to show how special of a team we are. Every year we set 3 main goals and we accomplished 2 out of the 3 this year. Of course we all were striving for that third goal of winning regionals and going to the elite 8, but we fell short. We will use it as motivation this spring to come back stronger next year.”

Despite the loss the Bulldogs had a great season of 29 wins and 6 losses.

Edited by: Sara Gunter

Seniors lead WU Volleyball to global success

Tyler Smith, Staff Writer

Senior volleyball players, Iris Brewer (#5) and Shelly Stumpff (#13), came to Wingate with the hopes of playing high level collegiate volleyball while experiencing everything that college has to offer.

However, neither one of them could have guessed that they would have a combined eight South Atlantic Conference regular season titles and be visit six countries in teir four years here at Wingate University.

Stumpff, a math education major, who is an outside hitter for the bulldogs, came to Wingate from Iowa City, Iowa. She fell in love with the enticing competitiveness of the team, as well as the vast educational opportunities offered.

Stumpff’s freshman season was good enough to earn her SAC and Region Freshman of the Year honors. In her career, she has accumulated over a 1,000 kills and currently holds the record for most aces in school history. Now in her senior season, she has been awarded with SAC Player of the Year.

While she has had a decorated career as an athlete, being a member of the Wingate volleyball program has brought her more than awards and accolades. Stumpff had the opportunity to travel overseas to play with other collegiate volleyball players from across the country in Pula, Croatia in the European Global Challenge Tournament.

“Going to Croatia with this team was my first time going out of the country,” Stumpff said. “One of my favorite parts was getting to hang out with the Montenegro team because I learned a lot about their culture and also what other people think about our cultures.”

Getting to represent America overseas playing the sport she loved was a once in a lifetime opportunity within itself. Stumpff says that the eye opening aspects came during other parts of the trip.

“The biggest thing for me was learning how ignorant we, as Americans, are compared to other cultures,” Stumpff said. “They know so much about our culture and I had never even heard of Croatia until I got there.”

Stumpff’s classmate, Iris Brewer, is also a product of the Midwest, hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, where she was an Academic All-American. She set her sights on attending Wingate because she felt like it was a place where she could be apart of a successful volleyball team, but she could also get involved in different organizations on campus outside of volleyball.

Brewer is an environmental biology major and secretary of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. Outside of athletics, she is a member of the Alpha Xi Delta sorority where she is the academic achievement chair, and she is also the new member orientation chair of the Black Student Union.

She also works in the Office of International Studies, a job she is more than qualified for having traveled overseas three times in her tenure as a Bulldog.

Brewer went overseas before she even sat in her first class as a freshman. The summer before she arrived at Wingate, Coach Shelton Collier recommended her for a spot on the Bring It Promotions South East Summer Tour Team with two of her future teammates. They flew to Munich, Germany to train with the team before traveling through Austria, Italy and Slovenia to and finally stopping in Pula, Croatia, where the tournament took place.

“Traveling across the world without my parents at 17 showed me that I could take care of myself and opened my eyes to the possibilities in the world,” Brewer said. “We visited Dachau when in Germany, which I had heard about in history class, but history is so much more powerful in person, especially this concentration camp.”

Brewer got the opportunity to play with some of the best collegiate volleyball players in the world, an opportunity she would not have had if she had chosen to go to another school.

Not only did Stumpff and Brewer play overseas individually, they also traveled as a team to Nicaragua the summer before their sophomore year for yet another trip that would teach them much more than how to be a better volleyball player.

According to Brewer, traveling to one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere forced the team to reflect on how fortunate they were to grow up in the United States not only because of the volleyball opportunities provided to them but also the life opportunities.

“In Nicaragua, my favorite part of the entire trip was the community service and going to the school and playing with the kids for like an hour,” Stumpff said. “The smiles on their faces I will never forget.”

Both Stumpff and Brewer came to Wingate looking for a well balanced college experience with the opportunity to play high level volleyball and get involved on campus. Four years later, four SAC regular season titles, three Elite Eight appearances, two Academic All-District honors and one SAC Player of the Year award, the seniors more than made their mark on the volleyball court.

However, it was the experiences they had overseas exploring new cultures that opened their eyes to life outside of the sport of volleyball and America consisted of.

Edited by: Kyndra Sanden