Yeowomen Volleyball Impresses in Opening Tournament


Photo Courtesy of OC Athletics

Senior captain and defensive specialist Lola Gatti passes the ball as junior outside hitter Julia Ingoglia offers support in a scrimmage against Lorain County Community College.

Sam Harris

The Yeowomen volleyball team began its season on a strong note at the River City Invitational in Marietta, Ohio last weekend. With a strong returning core built around three senior captains — Claudia Scott, Dana Thomas, and Lola Gatti — the Yeowomen are setting expectations and goals for this season.

Erica Rau, who begins her seventh season as head coach of the volleyball team, hopes to see large contributions from every class this season.

“We have a very strong senior class, along with a lot of underclassmen who are going to play big roles this season,” Rau said, adding that this team exhibits “the most talent the volleyball team has ever had during [her] tenure.”

Rau’s prospects came to fruition for the Yeowomen Friday, day one of the tournament, as they won their first two games of the season against Emory & Henry College and Thiel College, with scores of 3–1 and 3–0, respectively. Sophomore Lexi Mitchell led the way with her impressive opening day play as a serious offensive threat with 29 kills and 7 aces over the doubleheader. Sophomore Samantha Lam also totaled 82 assists over the first two games.

“We really want to see great energy and consistency throughout all of our games,” Thomas said.

Other highlights from the two games included Thomas’s 19 kills on the offensive front and junior Emily Kelkar’s 18 digs on the defensive end. Thomas stressed that the team focused on gaining rhythm on the court.

“One of our goals was to focus on making sure that defense and offense are in sync and performing well at the same time,” Thomas said.

Unfortunately, the Yeowomen could not keep the ball rolling the second day of the invitational. The team fell to Transylvania University, 1–3, and later to West Virginia University Institute of Technology, 0–3, splitting their opening weekend overall. However, Thomas said that the team exhibited “much strength to build on,” despite the losses.

“I’m still highly motivated and excited for a successful season, and want to be a strong leader for others on my team,” Thomas added.

With almost three weeks until they begin conference play, the Yeowomen still have plenty of time to continue practicing, experimenting, and discovering the best way to play both with their new first-years and without their five class of 2017 graduates. “It’s always a little weird starting back up without the seniors from last year,” Rau said. “But all of our first-years saw some playing time this past weekend, and I expect that to only continue throughout the season.”

Thomas, who expressed her high hopes for the season, is eager to see how the team will continue this year.

“We would like to win more games this season and finish in the top half of our conference,” she said. “To do this, we really need to maintain our competitiveness level and mental toughness throughout the whole season.”

The Yeowomen will be back today as they host the Oberlin Invite, one of many featured events of Oberlin’s homecoming weekend. The squad will face competition from Mount Aloysius College, Marietta College, and Defiance College during the invitational. Coming off a 17–16 record in their 2016–2017 season, Marietta College will be the biggest test for the Yeowomen.