By BRIDGET DANVER
On Saturday, Oct. 6, UMW’s varsity volleyball team traveled to York College, in hopes of bringing back a win. York hosts their Dig Pink game in October because it is the month dedicated to breast cancer awareness. Not only did the Eagles set volleyballs, but the team also set the example of how to fight for every point until the whistle blew.
With teamwork, talent and plenty of timeouts from anxious coaches, the Eagles won in three sets, 25-20, 25-22, and 27-25, but it was not easy.
The first set revealed that both teams were equally matched, with constant turnovers and back-to-back volleys, the scoreboard making it look like the points were playing tag with each other. Fans in the stands knew it would be nearly impossible to take their eyes off the fast-paced plays.
After the Eagles swept the first set, the Spartans did not waste any time getting a head start for the second set. In an instant, the score was 5-2, the three-point lead was enough to keep the Eagles on their toes. Middle blocker, Alana Harris, ended the volley with a kill. The ball grazed across the top of the net and threw off the momentum for York’s blockers, resulting in a point for UMW.
Towards the end of the second set, with the score 22-all, all players on the court knew they had to outsmart the opposing team using tactics besides the legendary hit. Kendall Hall, setter, broke the tie with a tip, also known as ‘dinking’ the ball. The method sends the ball short using a player’s fingertips as opposed to swinging the arm for a long distance hit. With two sets under their belts, the Eagles needed to secure the final set to win the entire match.
“Our team will be supporting the cause by wearing pink headbands and bow ties during the game. To our team, Dig Pink is a way for us to play the sport we love while also making a big impact,” said senior Leslie Walters when asked how the team would prepare for the special game.
During the third set, Walters reached 1,000 career kill, tying up both teams 7-all. She only needed three kills but went above and beyond, overall scoring five kills to add to her record. The Spartans fought their way back, holding a 24-21 lead and needing one more point to win a single set. The referee called a double hit on York, allowing for the Eagles to get their chance to even up the score. Harris tied up the team with an offensive kill, leaving 24-all.
In order to win a set, a team must win by two points, so now both teams had to compete to 26 points. After back to back aces delivered from both teams, another tie occurred, 25-all. The Eagles and the Spartans were neck and neck, leaving coaches and fans at the edge of their seats.
After an unreturnable serve from Harris and a timeout from York, the scoreboard read Guest – 26 and Home – 25. The Lady Eagles only needed one more point to win the third set and overall the match. If York won the set, they would have to advance to a fourth set and battle it out again, giving the opportunity for the Spartans to come back and steal a win. The pressure was on to not let their opponent have that window of opportunity.
Another timeout was called from York within a span of five minutes after their last call, perhaps in hopes of ‘icing’ the server, a common technique coaches use when the opposing team has a skilled server on a run.
Harris did not lose her cool, and once the whistle blew and the referee gave her the signal to serve, she delivered the winning point, sealing the victory for the Eagles.
Currently, the Eagles are on a three-game winning streak. The team is 12-8 overall and 3-0 in the CAC. Their next game is away at Salisbury University, on Saturday, Oct. 13.