Volleyball looks good towards playoffs
Morgan Douglas – Sports Editor
The Owls are ready for the NE10 Conference tournament after wrapping up regular season play with a pair of home games this past week.
Volleyball had a five-game winning streak snapped with a loss this past Friday against the Southern New Hampshire University Penmen in three sets. Just the second time, all year, the Owls lost in three sets.
“It’s part of the game. We’ve all been there,” outside hitter Sophia Castellano, a senior, said. “We were down 2-0 at New Haven, came back, and won three in a row, so, we’ve definitely come a long way, but sometimes it just falls a little bit short.”
It was an uncharacteristic defeat for a team whom had been so dominant in its home gym. After falling behind 5-0 early kin the first set, the Owls started playing on their heels a bit and not getting into position to execute their traditional offense.
“They were serving really tough at us, and they were just always in system,” Castellano said. “They played a great game. They knew where to hit, what shots to play and what would work around us.”
The Owls never led in the first set and dropped it 25-21. The Owls never led.
Set two was taken by the Penmen 25-22 but was back-and-forth and tightly contested. The set featured 11 tie scores and seven lead changes.
Outside hitter Lillee Olson, a senior, led the team in kills and digs in set two with five and eight, respectively.
“We came into this game today having won five matches in a row,” Olson said. “Every team has some difficult days, but I don’t I don’t think we came in with the best mindset that we could have.”
The Owls had a 16-15 lead in the third set, only to be outscored 10-3 after and drop the set and the match.
Fortunately, the following day was another home game, this time against the Stonehill College Skyhawks and the Owls won the battle of birds in four sets to wrap up the season with a 23-9 record, finishing an impressive 17-3 at home in Pelz Gym.
“We know we’re defending our home court and we love the energy of being home,” Castellano said. “We just love to be here in general, and we make sure it’s very hard for a team to come in here and feel comfortable.”
This final home game was also senior day, meaning it could potentially have been the final home game for several players.
“It’s definitely going to be an emotional day, but we’ve got to still stay focused,” outside hitter Gabriela Vazquez, a graduate student, said. “It’s bittersweet, but I’m excited about it. We have eight seniors, so it’s going to be fun.”
Vazquez was among those recognized as part of the senior day ceremonies and contributed with six kills in the match as the Owls handled their business and managed their emotions during the day.
They took the first two sets against Stonehill before dropping a hard-fought third set 28-26. The team rallied back in the fourth set, taking it 25-20.
Volleyball will enter NE10 Tournament play as the number five seed, slated to take on fourth seed Bentley University Falcons on Tuesday, Nov. 16, at 7 p.m. on the road in a quarterfinal matchup.
“I want to win. I want to compete. At least have fun and go out giving your best, and I feel like that’s what I try to transmit to my teammates, and I feel like that’s how we’ve been playing.”
Bentley defeated the Owls in four sets when they played on Oct. 15, at Bentley. The winner of their matchup will play the winner of the American International College versus Assumption match in the semifinals on Friday, Nov. 19.
“At the end of the day, we’re a family no matter what happens,” Olson said. “We always have each other and we’re always going to be able to share this moment together, and I’m really excited to just get to this point where I’m so close with all the people.”