In their regular season finale, the Mary Washington volleyball team lost a 3-2 decision to host Johns Hopkins University (18-25, 25-22, 20-25, 25-23, 4-15). The loss dropped the Eagles to 18-8 overall, but since it was an out of conference match, their CAC mark remained at 6-2. The win improved Johns Hopkins to 18-11 on the season.
“We didn’t execute as well as we could have or should have, particularly on defense,” Head Coach Dee Conway said.
The Eagles fell down two sets to one, but rebounded to win the fourth 25-23 to force a fifth and final set. However, UMW couldn’t finish the comeback, as the Blue Jays held on to win the deciding set 15-4.
Coach Conway didn’t believe her team ran out of gas, but thought they just let the game get away from them.
“Volleyball is a funny game and the momentum changes really fast,” Conway said. “They gained momentum at that critical part of the game that unfortunately we couldn’t stop.”
Junior Katlyn Shiflett recorded all 31 assists for the Eagles in the match, and has just under 81 percent of UMW assists for the season. Shiflett echoed her coach’s word about the final set.
“In the fifth game we just let Johns Hopkins get on long runs, and [we] couldn’t recover from such a point deficit,” Shiflett said. “The fifth game is only 15 points, so there is no time to be timid.”
Sophomore Laura Gomez led the team in kills with 10, giving her 199 kills on the year, which is second most on the team. Meanwhile, freshman Kaitlynn Wickersham continued her dominance of digs, as she tallied an additional 23 in the loss to increase her team-high total to 306.
Shiflett wasn’t discouraged from the recent loss, but instead says she thinks it actually has had a positive effect on the team going forward.
“The loss doesn’t leave a bad taste in my mouth,” Shiflett said. “If anything, I believe it helped us out, because we’ve had intense practices this week.”
The volleyball team will now shift their focus to the CAC Tournament, with their first match at home tonight, Nov. 4, against Salisbury University at 7 p.m. The Eagles defeated the Sea Gulls in their only regular season meeting, 3-1, back on Sep. 28.
“Defeating a team gives you a little added confidence, but the regular season is over, and a new season has begun,” Conway said. “They’re a different team now and so are we. I think we stack up quite well against them, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll win. We have to work hard, and we’re ready to do that work.”
The regular season victory over Salisbury was also a home match for the Eagles, and both coach and player hope that home court advantage can help boost them to victory once again.
“[Salisbury] is trying to take something away from us, and we have to be ready to defend our home court,” Shiflett said.
“I’m hoping home court gives us an added boost, but we must be consistent,” Conway said. “No matter how big the game is, the process of executing stays the same.”