Volleyball Falls in Straight Sets, Moves to 6–14

Nate Levinson and Tyler Sloan

The women’s volleyball team fell in consecutive sets to the Denison University Big Red on Wednesday, snapping its two-game winning streak and pushing its record to 6–14.

Fresh off of hard-fought wins against the Penn St.-Behrend Lions and the La Roche College Redhawks, the Yeowomen were unable to continue their momentum against Denison, falling 25–17, 25–11, 26–24. Despite the team’s less than stellar record, junior captain Molly Powers says that the statistics do not represent how the Yeowomen have performed.

“I think in general we probably had some higher expectations [ for] the season, but I definitely don’t think our record has been a reflection of how we’ve been playing on the court,” she said.

Both Powers and Head Coach Erica Rau said that the team’s offense grappled with establishing a dominant presence on the court against the Big Red.

“Our offense struggled to terminate the ball,” said Rau via email correspondence with the Review. “Denison is a very aggressive team with a physical block. Our hitters had trouble scoring.”

Despite the loss, Rau said she was pleased with the way the team fought until the end, almost overcoming a large deficit in the third set.

“In set three we were down 9–0, and we came back to almost win the set, [before] losing 24–26,” she said. “I think that shows that the team still has a lot of fight in them and that the talent is there.”

Powers, who played in all 114 games last year, said she agreed with Rau’s commentary regarding the third set of the contest against Denison.

“I think if we play the way that we played at the very end, we can come away with wins this weekend. We were right there and just didn’t pull through at the end. We were definitely the more talented team,” she said.

Currently in her fourth year as head coach, Rau said she is pleased with the advances the team has made in improving its consistency. The young class leaves much room for improvement, with only three juniors leading a team of underclassmen.

“We’ve made a lot of progress this year,” she said. “The focus of this season has been to go from being a competitive team to a team that is consistently winning. That’s a big jump to take and it takes time. To get there we’ve had to focus on becoming less predictable as a team.”

Going forward, Rau said she hopes that changes the team has made to its practice regimen will lead to more success.

“The last few weeks, we’ve stepped up our intensity in practices and our accountability off the court,” she said. “We’ve been working a lot on our mental game too. I think we just need to keep pushing forward and focusing on the little things. If we can consistently do the little things well, the wins are going to come.”

Sophomore Maggie Middleton expressed a perspective akin to Rau’s. The Reston, VA native said that she hopes to continue progressing and have fun with the rest of the season.

“I want us to go out there and be really confident. I want us to go out with a lot of enthusiasm and play how I know we can,” she said. “I want it to look like we are having fun and like we enjoy our sport, because that is why we’re here.”

Looking forward, the Yeowomen will host the Albion College Britons this Saturday at 11 a.m. They will also honor Christine Antonsen, the lone senior on the team this year. She has sat out the majority of this season due to injury but has been a significant contributor for Oberlin for the past three years.

The Yeowomen last faced the Britons in September 2012 when they were able to come away with a convincing 3–1 victory. Sophomore Meredith Leung, who earned North Coast Athletic Coast accolades last year in making the Honorable Mention list, spoke confidently of her team’s ability to leave the weekend with a pair of wins added to its record.

“We are just young and inconsistent, but we still have the chance to turn our season around. This team has gotten a lot better and we can go a lot farther,” she said. “I think we definitely should win, and going 2–0 over the weekend would make senior night great.”