Volleyball regains hope after victory
Sam Tapper — Sports Writer
After losing five games in a row, the Owls’ volleyball team got back on track with a 3-0 sweep of Pace University in the opener of NE10 play.
The Owls had not won a single set in their previous four matches, something that would have been unheard of just two weeks ago, when they stood at 7-1. Regardless, the game against a struggling Pace squad was an opportunity to get back to their winning ways.
In the first set, Pace held on as the score stood at 8-8. From that point on, it was all Owls, as they saw a tie game quickly turn into a 20-9 lead, led by the Owls’ captain, and senior Jillian Chambers. Chambers played in two of the three sets that night and finished with five digs and five kills in 14 total attempts.
“Coming off the NE10 championship, every team is out to beat us,” said Chambers on starting out NE10 play with a win. “Everyone’s trying to do whatever they can, so we know we have targets on our back, and we know we have to work 10 times as hard to keep winning, but I’m super proud of what we did today, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”
For Chambers, the season is still young, as she was forced to miss the first 12 games of the season due to injury. Stats aside, Chambers was heavy on the attack, as she had numerous spikes the average person would not want to be on the other end of.
Owls’ head coach Lisa Barbaro said having Chambers back is a big boost for her team.
“It was great to have her back on the court; she’s been a big part of our success over the last three years,” said Barbaro. “Now, to have her back for her fourth year, we’re really excited. She really makes a difference for us on the court.”
The Owls won the first set 25-12, but the Setters did not yield go away in the second and third sets. Pace went neck-and-neck with the Owls, and it seemed every time Southern was ready to pull away, the Setters caught a break, partly due to a few miscues by the Owls.
“I’m just really proud of the team effort tonight,” said Barbaro. “They played hard; they played together as a team. Defensively, a lot of talk and communication, not many balls hit the floor, so I’m really proud of their defensive effort at the net, as well as what they’ve done for us at the service line too. They really kept Pace out of system for most of the night.”
The Owls won the second and third sets 2523 and 25-20. They saw another boost on their attack from junior Ariel Letcher, who finished with a team-high 14 kills in 37 attempts, as well as 11 digs and an assist.
“I just wanted to have fun and play my heart out,” said Letcher. “That’s always my mindset, and that’s what I did, and my team was behind me, and it was really great.”
With the win, the Owls improve to 8-6. Up next, the Owls will host American International College on Oct. 1., as they look to improve to 2-0 in the NE10.
“I’m just really looking forward to the rest of the season,” said Barbaro. “I’m not really looking too far ahead; I’ll enjoy this one for tonight and then it’ll be back trying to get prepared for AIC on Tuesday.”