By MICHAEL MORRIS
The University of Mary Washington volleyball team improved its record to 9-1 overall with two wins and a first place finish in the Lebanon Valley College Invitational last Saturday, Sep. 17. UMW defeated Cabrini College in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader in four sets: 18-25, 25-22, 25-23, 32-30. The Eagles finished the day with a victory over host school Lebanon Valley College in five sets: 23-25, 14-25, 25-23, 25-20, 15-8.
“They played well,” Coach Dee Conway said of her team’s performance. “All the players played well.”
Senior Tola Adebanjo had 19 kills in the Eagles’ morning victory over the Cavaliers, and added 10 more kills to hear season total in the afternoon win over the Dutchmen. Kaitlynn Wickersham had 14 kills in both games and added 14 digs in the finals match against Lebanon Valley. Senior Katie Shiflett’s performance was also worth noting, as she racked up 54 assists in the Cabrini College game.
“We really stepped up with our offensive production this weekend,” Wickersham said.
According to Coach Conway, a few of the UMW Eagles played out of their normal positions and still performed well. Sophomore Sammy Hogue, usually a setter, played as the team’s defensive specialist over the weekend, while fellow sophomore Christine Tran shifted from her usual spot as defensive specialist to take the role of libero for the tournament.
“Everyone has the ability to play every position,” Adebanjo said. “Coach rotates us in practice so that everyone is comfortable playing anywhere.”
Conway’s shifting of players in practice has made UMW more flexible in terms of rotations and filling in should someone get injured, since her athletes won’t fret when they move out of position due to the flow of the game of necessity due to sickness or injury.
After a strong season and a heartbreaking Capital Athletic Conference Tournament finals loss to Frostburg State University last year, the Eagles hope to continue their early season success through the 2011 campaign.
“We want to keep the intensity from a strong season last season and build on that,” Adebanjo said.
The Eagles hosted St. Mary’s Colege in a conference battle in the Anderson Center last night, but the contest ended too late for results to be provided in this issue. UMW entered the conference matchup with a three game winning streak and spotless conference mark. Adebanjo and Wickersham both explained that the team worked hard on conditioning and offensive execution in preparation for their second home CAC matchup of the year.
“We’re going to prepare like we do every day,” coach Conway said. “We need to work on our problem areas. We’re still trying to evolve into what we want to be at the end of the season.”
The volleyball squad will go on the road for an out of conference battle against Lynchburg College on Saturday, Sept. 24.