Volleyball amidst shaky season

Kenny Baah — Contributor

In what has been a season of mixed results, the volleyball team fell short to NE10 opponent Franklin Pierce 3-1 on senior day at Pelz Gymnasium. Prior to the start of the game, the three seniors, defensive specialist Anna Venard, right side hitter Jillian Chambers and setter Tea Carter were honored for their contributions throughout their careers with the team. Venard described her experience as “walking into a family” when she first joined the Owl’s volleyball team as a freshman.

The Owls bounced back to win the first set after being down 9-3 in the opening minutes. The Owls went on a 9-4 run of their own and extended their lead further with three more points. Franklin Pierce fought back to tie the game at 19-19, but the Ravens’ effort was not enough, as the Owls closed out the set 25-21 with a kill from middle hitter Abigail Epstein, a junior. Epstein went on to record 12 kills in during the game.

The Owls started off slow in the second set, that would go on to include some of the game’s longest rallies. Despite Carter assisting on 14 points for the Owls, they could not maintain control as they lost the set 21-25.
The third set saw both teams split the first 12 points evenly. The Owls soon took the lead, thanks to a kill by Epstein, but were unable to hold on as Franklin Pierce came from behind to take the set 25-15. The Owls conceded many points off attack and ball handling errors.

The fourth, and what would be the final set saw the Owls tie the game twice early in the set with kills from opposite hitter Ella White, a freshman, and opposite hitter Ariel Letcher, a junior. However, it was not enough as they dropped their third set in a row 25-15 to lose the game 3-1.

Owls head coach Lisa Barbaro said she credits the team for their effort to get better this season amidst the health concerns that have plagued the team all year, despite their loss.

“We’ve been making some big strides, and then sometimes where I think we take some steps forward, we tend to take some steps back,” said Barbaro. “It’s been a real struggle this year, because it’s just like when we think we’re getting the team back [to being] healthy and ready to go, we come into practice that day and somebody is sick, or someone is out injured.”

As a result, Barbaro mentioned that it has affected the team’s chemistry on the court which has resulted in the drop in wins this season. The Owls fall to a 9-13 overall record and 2-4 in the NE10 conference. With seven games left in the regular season, the Owls aim to bounce back to winning ways in their next game against Adelphi on Oct. 19.

“We just got to get back on track. We still have a lot of conference games left, so we can’t let this one get to us.” said Chambers. “We can only learn from our mistakes and get better so that it doesn’t happen again in the other important matches.”

Photo credit: Will Aliou

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