Volleyball falls short AIC 3-0
Ben Martin – Sports Writer
It was a tough test for the Owls volleyball team Friday night as the top dogs of The Northeast 10 American International College (AIC) Yellow Jackets arrived at the Pelz gymnasium. Coming into the game, the Yellow Jackets had a record of 18-1, with their one loss coming almost two months ago to Bentley University on August 27th.
“We were really nervous coming into this game,” said Owls’ setter Taylor Jones, a junior. “AIC is such a powerful opponent.”
Although the Yellow Jackets may have been powerful, Jones did not see anything the Owls could not handle.
“I expected to come in here facing a bigger challenge,” Jones said. “The fact that we could hang with them and we did not take that opportunity is really disappointing.”
The Owls were not able to change the Yellow Jackets record to 18-2, but rather American International College improved to 19-1 after defeating the Owls 3-0 on Friday at the Pelz gymnasium.
Although the Owls lost 3-0, Head Coach Lisa Barbaro believes there are some positives to take out of the game.
For example, the Owls lost the first set by ten points 25-15, but in the second set the Owls stuck with the yellow jackets until the end dropping that one 26-24.
“We could have got down after that first set, but we battled back and had an opportunity to win the second set,” Barbaro said. “[We] started to make some better decisions with the ball and finding the court.”
Along with the Owls showing some heart and fight by battling back in set two, Barbaro had more takeaways for the rest of the season. One of those takeaways was the Owls’ play defensively.
“AIC is one of the best offensive teams in the conference,” Barbaro said. “We were able to dig up a lot of balls and we were able to defend a lot better than we have in other sets.”
Barbaro also said that distribution was another improvement from their matchup with the Yellow Jackets.
Even though the Owls did many things well, there are always places to improve. For example, the Owls’ season-long problem of finishing sets poked its head out again in the second set.
“We really had them in the second set,” said outside hitter Gabriella Gaibur, a senior. “It was neck and neck and we did beat them by a few points but we kind of lost it towards the end.”
Toward the end of the second set, the Owls had a 23-20 lead, but the Yellow Jackets took the next three points to tie the set up at 23. From there, the only Owls score for the rest of the set would come on a serve from the Yellow Jackets that went out of bounds. After that serve, the Owls allowed the Yellow Jackets to score three unanswered to take the set 26-24.
“The problem that we have is we just need to be consistent and keep our energy up,” Gaibur said. “Once someone makes one mistake, we all fall apart.”
Along with the problems of finishing sets and keeping the energy up, Jones sees a bigger problem with the team’s mentality.
“I think as a team we need to dig deeper and find some type of fight in us,” Jones said. “We think we found it, but I can see in each and every one of us we have more.”
Jones said that she does not know when the team will find it but they need to bring it out of them onto the court to be successful.
With some film-watching and adjustments to the practice plan, the Owls should be able to bounce back after this matchup said Barbaro and Gaibur.
“We just have to make these minor adjustments and make sure we keep our energy up throughout the entire match,” Gaibur said. “Once we do that I think we will be good.”