The Wright State volleyball program has already taken major strides in its second season under second-year coach Susan Clements. The Raiders, who won two matches last season, are 3-7 heading into the Wright State Invitational beginning today at C.J. McLin Gymnasium.
The Raiders host Robert Morris at 6:30 tonight. On Saturday, they play Murray State at noon and Indiana State at 5:30 p.m.
“We’ve got seven new people on the roster and only five returners,” Clements said. “It’s taken them a little while to gel together, but as far as talent and the future of the program, I feel we’re headed in the right direction.”
In the team’s last match, a 3-0 loss at Butler on Tuesday, a freshman, Stephanie Ruffing, led the team in kills with nine. Three other freshmen played major roles.
The Raiders have two seniors, Ellen Senf and Heidi Splinter, on the roster and one junior, Samantha Daniel. But it’s a team defined by its youth.
“The challenge is they’re always going to be up and down,” Clements said. “The adjustment of class, being away from home, meeting new people, it’s hard to juggle that and making sure they come into practice every day focused on getting better.
“They’re very coachable kids. They work hard. They’re definitely getting better. The hard part as coaches is remaining patient and teaching and working with them and trying not to get frustrated because they are going to be up and down match to match.”
Men’s basketball: The men’s basketball team showed it was ready for prime time last season during its run to the Horizon League championship game.
The Raiders will get even more chances to show their skills in the national spotlight in 2013-14. The Horizon League announced last week the Raiders would have six games on ESPNU, ESPN2 or ESPN3, plus one game on the new Fox network, Fox Sports 1.
The Horizon League also announced its conference schedule on Thursday. The Raiders begin conference play Jan. 2 at home against Oakland and play at Detroit two days later. Their next two conference games come in a three-day span as well: at Valparaiso on Jan. 10 and home vs. Illinois-Chicago on Jan. 12.
The busiest stretch is Jan. 17-21 when they host Green Bay on Friday, play at Cleveland State on Sunday and then host Milwaukee on Tuesday.
Men’s soccer: The Raiders split their first two games, beating Marshall 3-2 in overtime on Sept. 6 at Alumni Field and losing 2-1 at Robert Morris on Wednesday.
Brett Elder scored the winning goal against Marshall in the first overtime on a pass from Chris DuPont. Two new Raiders, freshman Eric Lynch and sophomore Wesley Cain, scored the earlier goals for WSU.
DuPont scored the Raiders’ only goal against Robert Morris.
The Raiders play at West Virginia tonight.
Women’s soccer: The Raiders fell to 2-2-2 with a 1-0 loss at Iowa on Sunday. WSU hosts Dayton at 7 p.m. Sunday. The Flyers beat WSU 3-0 last season.