Mackenzie Hurlbert – General Assignment Reporter –
Southern volleyball fell 3-0 to Adelphi University last Tuesday, Nov. 6 in their last home game of the season, and the team now looks ahead to focus on the upcoming playoffs.
In the first set, Southern came out regrettably slow on the defense. Allowing Adelphi to gain an eight point lead from their lack of energy and attentiveness, the beginning of the first set was stagnant for the Owls. Thanks to a service and attack errors from Adelphi, Southern got a couple chances to redeem themselves but failed on all accounts. The set ended with a 10 point lead at the Owls’ loss with the score 25-15.
In the second set, Southern came out fighting and seemed revived with vengeance. While Adelphi remained in the lead for the majority of the game, juniors Sarah Beres, Jade Black, and Lauren McVey with assistance from setter Kimberly Lachowicz got the offense rolling with a number of kills at the net. Likewise, Syriah Celestine earned some points with a couple sneaky tips.
Adelphi responded to the push by not letting Southern gain momentum. Hitters Chelsea Overholt and Kaitlyn DeStefano, dominated at the net and Adelphi defense stayed consistent throughout the three sets. The Owls couldn’t gain momentum or a lead, and Adelphi won the second set with a score of 25-18.
Maintaining their newly found energy from the second set, Southern returned to the court warmed up and ready to go. The third set was a back-and-forth exchange of blows as Southern and Adelphi gained and lost the lead repeatedly. Southern stayed neck-and neck with Adelphi, but while Southern kept their opponent from gaining much of a lead, they weren’t able to maintain momentum either.
McVey and Beres were consistent at the net, and the back row provided good passes to Lachowicz who ended the night with 24 assists and five digs. While Southern was strong at the net and much more awake than they were in the first set, Adelphi overpowered them once again thanks to hitters Overholt and DeStefano along with setter Katie Bryson. The third set and final struggle ended with the score 25-22 as Southern lost their final home game of the season.
Beres earned a team high of 11 kills, while also racking up four digs and two block assists. McVey ended the night with six kills and eight digs, and Black had nine digs and two kills. On the Adelphi side, Overholt rounded up a whopping 20 kills and seven digs, and DeStefano had 11 kills and seven block assists.
“Tonight, honestly, we kinda came out pretty flat defensively,” said head coach Lisa Barbaro after the game. “I think we struggled a little bit, making a lot of mistakes defensively. We weren’t really able to run our offense.”
“Adelphi’s a very good team. They run a very quick offense. They have a lot of good offensive weapons,” she said. “We have a lot of stuff to work on. It’s mostly the speed of our offense and what we need to do defensively.” Southern, with a 22-9 record so far this season, had two more games left before playoffs. Both were on the road facing non-conference teams.
Barbaro did mention Beres’ consistency on the court as one of the team’s strongest assets. “I thought Sarah Beres had a great match,” she said. “She was swinging a lot harder today. She’s probably our most consistent player offensively. I thought she did a great job.”
Beres, a junior and outside hitter/middle blocker for the Owls, got 11 kills in the game against Adelphi, making her total 362 kills for this season with two remaining games.
“I thought we could’ve definitely come out a little stronger in the beginning,” said Beres after the loss to Adelphi. Despite the loss, Beres and the team must pull together and finish the season strong before heading into playoffs. “I’m excited to come out strong Saturday,” said Beres, referring to the Saturday, Nov. 10 game at Mercy College in Old Westbury, NY.
Sophomore Natasha Carlbert, an outside hitter, did not get any court time for the game but looks forward to the playoffs, especially after a loss like this. “Every team’s gonna lose once in a while, no team’s perfect,” she said, “but this loss is going to give us fire for playoffs.”