Terriers Defeat Yeowomen in Three Sets
Riding high off of recent victories, the Yeowomen’s volleyball team took to the court to face the Hiram College Terriers this past Wednesday but were unable to extend their four-game winning streak. They were defeated in three straight sets: 25–18, 25–21 and 25–22.
This marked the first loss of the season for the Yeowomen in the North Coast Athletic Conference, moving them to 2–1 in conference and 6–8 overall.
The Yeowomen offered little contest in the first set, which Hiram easily took 25–18. Junior setter Meredith Leung attributed the loss to a lapse in Oberlin’s energy.
“We struggle with momentum,” Leung said. “We had too many errors, let too many balls drop and gave away too many easy points. We need to find a way to remain consistent and go aggressively after every ball.”
However, despite early errors and a slow start, the Yeowomen turned their fortunes around in the next two sets and gave themselves several opportunities to win. At one point during the second set they led 15–12, but after three lead changes and six ties, the Terriers came out on top with a score of 18–17. Hiram kept the lead for the remainder of the set, and Oberlin failed to close the gap, ending the set at 25–21.
The third set began with a measure of offensive control on Oberlin’s behalf, as the Yeowomen surged ahead with an early 15–10 lead. But a seven-point streak obliterated the Yeowomen’s advantage and pushed the Terriers two points ahead at 17–15. Hiram led for the remainder of the match, and the Yeowomen gave up two consecutive points to assure the Terrier’s victory of 25–22.
Hiram’s dynamic offense tested Oberlin throughout the three sets, with the Terriers hitting a massive .393, trumping the Yeowomen’s .210. Senior libero Molly Powers acknowledged the skill of Hiram’s offense but felt that the Yeowomen did well to keep them from getting too comfortable.
“Coming into the match we knew that they were going to get some great kills,” Powers said. “I think our block did a good job getting some nice touches, and the defense was able to step into some spots and dig some balls up that should’ve been down.”
The Terriers only garnered four aces to Oberlin’s six, but the Yeowomen often struggled to form good passes when faced with the Terriers’ powerful serves. Head Coach Erica Rau believes the Yeowomen’s in-game difficulties will be overcome once they realize their potential as a team.
“I think that we’re still struggling a little with our confidence because [the Yeowomen] don’t realize how good of a team they are,” Rau said. “Hiram is a good serving team — they’re top in the conference, usually top three — but I think it was definitely also our confidence. I’d like to see the team come out there realizing how good they are and playing that way all the time.”
Even if they didn’t match the offensive statistics of a conference giant like Hiram, the Yeowomn’s offensive performances were certainly confidence inspiring. Junior right-side Ave Spencer led the Yeowomen with 10 kills, while junior outside hitter Jillian Hostetler, winner of NCAC Athlete of the Week last week, came in with eight. Junior right side and defensive specialist Krista Langhans snuck a team-high four aces past the Terriers, while Powers led the Yeowomen with 10 digs.
The weekend before, the Yeowomen won two league matches against Kenyon College and The College of Wooster on Friday and Saturday, respectively. The Yeowomen crushed the Kenyon Lords in just four sets and The College of Wooster Fighting Scots in three straight sets.
Senior defensive specialist Shavonne Stanek described the Yeowomen’s optimism at their hot start and expressed her confidence in their prospects for the remainder of the season.
“We are ready to come out and show how much the volleyball program here at Oberlin has improved over the last four years,” Stanek said. “My freshman year, we were not a threat in the conference, and I think at this point that has changed tremendously.”
Oberlin will be looking to get back to their winning ways this Saturday, Oct. 3 when they travel to DePauw University. The first set is scheduled to begin at noon.