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The Blue & Gray Press | November 19, 2017

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Eagles Sweep Away Wesley

By CALLI LOWERY

The UMW woe volleyball team came away with a victory against Wesley College on Thursday night. The win secured their position to host their first game of the Capital Athletic Conference tournament and increased their record to 4-3 in CAC play and 16-9 overall.

“We had to win this one so we could host our first game. Hopefully, this will motivate us to do well in the tournament and to let us keep winning,” junior Anne Lutkenhaus said.

The first match started out slow for both teams with scoring going back and forth. After the Eagles took a lead they never looked back securing the first match with a score of 25-12. The Wolverines fought back in the second match, but still fell short with the score 25-17.

“Our coaches told us that they [Wesley] were number one in blocking and serve aces so we were expecting them to come out strong and put up a solid fight,” said freshman Kim Hutcheson. “But I feel as if we met our expectations for this game. Our blocks were up there along with our serves.”

The Eagles took the match quickly, sweeping Wesley after a 25-14 win in game 3.

Lutkenhaus had five kills and three serve aces, while senior Kelley Hueber, freshman Tola Adebanjo and senior Kat Carter had nineteen kills and fifteen digs combined. Freshman Katie Shiflett also contributed sixteen assists.

“We played fundamentally well but there was a lack of energy on both sides; defense and offense. We just need to keep on improving our blocking and go out there and win our next couple of games,” Hutcheson said.

The Eagles game plan consists of a strong, solid balanced team and not just one standout which helped to dominate their opponent.  The ladies were able stick to the basic skills of serving, blocking and offense.

“Our goal every game is to have a balanced attack so then our opponents can’t kill us and this game we were pretty balanced,” said Coach Dee Conway. “We played well and our intensity was excellent. The girls did well executing tonight which is key for us as a team.”

Granted, the team likes to keep a balanced effort both on defense and offense, but in most games at least one player does exceptionally well. Just recently, Lutkenhaus was named CAC player of the week, making it the third appearance by a lady eagles volleyball member on the list this season.

“This doesn’t change my attitude towards the game in any way. It only makes me want to work harder,” Lutkenhaus said. “You have to give 110 percent every time regardless if it’s the first team or the last placed team in the conference. You still have to do what you do in practice, do your job on the court and give your full effort.”

The ladies don’t change their attitudes toward their rewarded teammates; they said they support each other even more. With the CAC tournament just days away, the team continues increase their effort during practice.

“We are nowhere near perfect but we are working on perfection every day. We always need to work on something and that’s the basic skills: aggressive with serving, offense balance and tighter blocking,” Conway said. “We can’t afford to slack off; we are still playing for position in the tournament so we keep working hard every day.”

The team does a lot of bonding outside the court on their own to make sure their chemistry on the court remains positive. Before the game the players line up next to each other and take turns clapping every ones hands. Also, they build their own music list mixed with songs that will get them pumped up for the game.

“Bonding as a team is key because it makes us play well on the court. Little things like our own music and clapping our hands gets us pumped up for the game,” Lutkenhaus said. “We’ve grown to be a family no matter where we are or what we do.”