By ALLISON KISSELL
This past weekend proved to be a battle royale for the women’s volleyball team, as they split a pair of matches in the 2010 Blue Jay Classic, hosted by Elizabethtown College. The performance brings the team’s season record to an impressive 12-5.
“I was really proud of them,” head coach Dee Conway said. “The games were close and could have gone either way.”
The tournament also included teams from Neumann University, Catholic University of America, Gettysburg College and Immaculata University. The Gettysburg Bullets, who went 4-0 in their matches, were crowned the tournament champions.
On Friday afternoon, the Bullets defeated our Lady Eagles in five games, 20-25, 27-25, 25-20, 19-25, 15-13. UMW junior Tola Adebanjo led the team with 17 kills, while sophomore Laura Gomez and freshman Hannah Lawson each had 15 and 10 respectively. Junior Katie Shiflett tallied 43 assists and also added 11 digs for the Eagles, while freshman Kaitlynn Wickersham, who was also named to the All-Tournament team, contributed 17 digs and four aces.
The women’s match against Immaculata University on Friday evening provided the team with a better outcome. The Eagles overpowered the opposing team in three games, scoring 25-16, 25-22, 25-22. The match contained another notable performance from Adebanjo, Gomez and Lawson, each scoring the team a significant amounts of kills. Similarly, Shiflett played well again, recording 16 assists, while freshman setter Sammy Hogue added 13 assists.
The tournament resumed on Saturday afternoon, where UMW defeated the Elizabethtown Blue Jays. The Lady Eagles’ victory occurred over five grueling games, 25-19, 18-25, 21-25, 25-17, 15-13. Gomez contributed 13 kills in 27 attempts with one error, while Lawson had 16 kills in 23 attempts. Adebanjo scored 13 kills and sophomore middle hitter, Karissa Herrick, had eight kills and four blocks. Shiflett and Hogue supplied 24 assists each.
“I think our best match was against Elizabethtown,” Hogue said. “They were one of the toughest teams we had to face, and we went to five sets with them. It was a real fight for that win, but during that game in particular I felt like we really came together.”
In their final match of the tournament, the Eagles lost to Neumann University in five sets, 25-15, 23-25, 23-25, 25-21, 6-15. However, the UMW women refused to go down without a fight, after falling down two sets to one, they forced a fifth, but couldn’t take the deciding set. Lawson scored 14 kills and three aces, Herrick had 14 kills, and Gomez supplied five blocks. Sophomore Cleo Baker had eight kills and five blocks for the Eagles, while Shiflett and Hogue added 25 and 14 assists respectively.
“We always prefer to win all four, but we’ll take two,” Conway said. “The girls played well. I was pleased with their execution but losing two games – obviously something didn’t go well.”
After the completion of the Blue Jay Classic, the women’s volleyball team now has their sights set solely on CAC play. Conway explains that the team is currently focused on progression and becoming better as a team unit.
“We need to stay healthy. From here on out we are into the thrusts of conferences. It should be exciting,” Conway said.
The Lady Eagles won a conference match this past Tuesday, defeating Salisbury 3-1, 25-17, 21-25, 28-26, 25-16. The win improved UMW to 3-0 in CAC play. The volleyball team’s next game will be a road match against York College of Pennsylvania on Saturday, Oct. 2 at 2 p.m.