Yeowomen Muster Quick Turnaround in Pittsburgh Play


Kyle Youngblood

Senior setter Meredith Leung prepares for a rally alongside junior defensive specialist Lola Gatti. After opening their season in a four-game tournament at La Roche College in Pittsburgh, the Yeowomen are 2–2.

Sloane Garelick

This past weekend, the women’s volleyball team travelled to Pittsburgh to play a total of four games over the course of two days. The Yeowomen split the weekend series recording two wins and two losses.

The first loss was a close match against the Washington & Jefferson Presidents on Friday that ended in a score of 3–2. Despite the final score, the Yeowomen dominated the majority of the game and fought through some challenges throughout the match. “We were actually beating them pretty badly, and I think we were up one or two games,” said Erica Rau, the head coach of the team.

During the battle against the Presidents, however, junior Claudia Scott, one of the team’s starting outsides, went down with a knee injury, which weakened the team’s offense. “We kind of struggled to rebound after that and we ended up losing that match in five sets,” said Coach Rau.

Despite this unfortunate injury and subsequent loss, Coach Rau and the team found some optimism and hope within this unlucky situation. “Jill Hostetler, a senior, came off the bench and really stepped up,” Coach Rau said. “Whether we have Claudia or not, I’m really confident that we have a team that’s going to be able to rally around each other.”

The second loss occurred Friday when the York College of Pennsylvania Spartans defeated the Yeowomen, 3–1. “I think at that point we were still just like mentally and physically exhausted after playing that five setter [against Washington & Jefferson],” Coach Rau said. “So it was definitely a tough first day.”

The Yeowomen were still able to bounce back from the two setbacks on Friday to end the weekend with two pivotal wins on Saturday.   The first win was a 3–2 victory over the Hiram College Terriers. While the win was important to boost confidence and the team’s overall record, the triumph did not count as a conference victory due to the match being part of a tournament rather than a regularly scheduled conference game.

From the match, the team could take away that they can be resilient in the face of adversity. “This was a really big win for us because we were able to rebound and rally without Claudia, and we’ve never beaten them since I’ve been here,” said Coach Rau. The Yeowomen closed out the weekend with another win against La Roche College, a 3–0 victory over the La Roche Red Hawks.

The team was ultimately satisfied with its performance over the week. “I think they were able to see that everything they’ve been doing in practice this week and in preseason was really working,” Coach Rau said. “When we’re doing it, it’s going to work. We just have to be consistent with it.”

Captain and senior Meredith Leung was also excited about the successful start to the season. “I’m really pleased with beating Hiram and La Roche on Saturday, but I definitely think we could’ve taken games from the other two,” Leung said. “But we definitely are off to a better start than we have been in past years, which is really exciting to see.”

This Saturday, the Yeowomen will play La Roche College again, as well as Notre Dame College. “We’re playing La Roche again, so our goal is to beat them again, but definitely do it a lot more efficiently and cleaner,” Leung said. “And I think we’re just trying to play more efficiently and making sure that we’re always moving fast and transitioning fast.”

“Since we already played [La Roche], [we know] they’re really scrappy and they tip a lot, so we took away one of our blockers and pulled them off of the net to just pick up tips,” said Coach Rau regarding their upcoming contest. “When you start playing down is when you make more errors, so we’re mostly just focusing on us and picking up the tips.”

The Yeowomen will also take on Notre Dame College, a Division II school.   “I anticipate they’re going to be a little more physical than us,” Coach Rau said. “But I think with them we’re going to focus on our tough serving and our offense, which we changed a lot this year.”

After developing a new and improved offense, the team is hopeful for a competitive edge during the remainder of the season. “Last year we got really predictable and we were getting really easy to block because we were so predictable,” Rau said. “So we took the time in the spring and basically redid everything.”

While the ambitions for this weekend are high, the team also understands the importance of consistent play throughout the 2016 campaign. “We had a lot of rollercoasters with our playing, so if we can be more consistent, I think it’ll be even better,” said first-year Lexi Mitchell.

“I think our biggest goal is to have more wins than losses,” added Leung. “I don’t think our program has ever done that and that would be a really good way to end my senior year.”

Rau’s optimism is high for a successful season as conference matches approach. “This is the most talent I’ve had since I’ve been here,” Rau said. “I’ve also been having a lot of fun with this group, too, and I think it’s really going to reflect what we do on the court, too, so I’m excited.”