Volleyball’s incredible season continues
Matt Gad – Sports Writer
At 18-5, Southern volleyball is having one of their most successful seasons in recent memory. After defeating American International three sets to one last Tuesday the team has just seven regular-season games remaining.
“It feels really good [to get back in the flow of winning],” junior Alyssa Gage said. “We really needed this win to boost our confidence and overall mentality.”
This season Gage has played in all 23 matches, as of Oct. 22, having started them all. She has also participated in 82 sets and is averaging 3.10 points, 2.65 kills and 0.16 assists per set.
In the first game of the season September 1 Gage recorded a 1.000 hitting percentage—meaning she limited her miscues—and thanks to a solid statistical foundation, she has managed an average percentage of .363.
“I think the girls were really focused for this one. Conference games are very important,” head coach Lisa Barbaro said. “Everybody’s good. AIC won the East Region last year so they’re a really tough team and I think the girls were really focused to execute our gameplan and to win [the match].”
American International, based out of Springfield, Massachusetts, is 14-9 this season, with a .609 winning percentage. They’ve gone 7-2 in conference play and managed a winning 5-3 mark at home. After losing to Southern they won against Bentley Oct. 21 three sets to one. Their next game is tonight against Le Moyne College.
“Really it’s just about us executing what our game plan is and staying true to that. We want to have high energy and high emotion regardless of what the result is from each set. The big difference tonight [last Tuesday] was, even after losing the first set, the girls were able to bounce back and really sustain a certain amount of focus and energy.”
On Monday, the team took on Molloy College and on Friday, they will be in North Easton, Massachusetts to take on Stonehill College. The Owls will return home for Caldwell University Nov. 1 and Franklin Pierce November 4 before finishing the regular-season on the road with Adelphi and Saint Michael’s College November 7 and 11, respectively.
Said Gage: “We were struggling in the middle of the season but now that we’ve pulled out this win I think it’s just gonna boost our momentum and I think we’re gonna do really well. It would be so great to [make the playoffs for the first time]. The reason I transferred here was just to change the program and make it something better because we are so good, we are so talented and we have potential and just making it to the playoffs would be a dream come true.”
The last time the Owls reached the postseason was in 2012. They went 24-11 in the regular-season and won an NE10 Quarterfinal before losing to the University of New Haven in the conference semifinal three sets to one.
“We have to come in ready for every opponent we face,” Barbaro said. “The goal is to try to get a playoff berth and, you know, again, every conference opponent is very important. None of these girls have had any playoff experience [during their time as Owls].”
Photo Credit: Palmer Piana