Volleyball Team Takes 6th at Conferences


Simeon Deutsch

First-year Ave Spencer spikes at the North Coast Atlantic Conference championships. The tournament was the Yeowomen’s last of the season.

Emma Lehmann

The women’s volleyball team took 6th place at the North Coast Atlantic Conference championships this past weekend. The tournament took place at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio.

The team played three games, winning one and losing two, with the first a veritable struggle for the team. Although the DePauw University Tigers came in ranked a mere one spot ahead of the Yeowomen, the game ended in only three sets.

“We had a rough game against DePauw. There were a lot of nerves — [the first-years] hadn’t been to conferences before, which was difficult,” said junior captain Christine Antonsen.

By the second game of the tournament, the team seemed more comfortable with the championship setting and was ready to compete.

For the majority of the team, this was the first conference game in a weekend-long tournament. The girls played with more ease in the second game against the Allegheny College Gators. After winning each of the three sets, they earned back some confidence to carry them into the final game against their longtime rival, the Kenyon College Ladies. Unfortunately, they lost in a grueling five sets.

At this point in the tournament, the initial stress of the competition had worn off. The loss to Kenyon was difficult, but the team fought for every point.

“We were pretty consistent against Kenyon, even though we didn’t come out on top,” said sophomore Shavonne Stanek.

It was a disappointing conclusion to the season, but the hope among the Yeowomen is that the upset will encourage the team to improve for next year.

Coach Erica Rau was impressed with the season as a whole and said she was generally pleased with the outcome of the tournament.

“I expected us to be a little more competitive against DePauw, even though they are ranked 25th in the nation,” said Rau.

The loss to Kenyon did not change their standing in the conference, placing the girls in the middle of the conference rankings. “Next year, we want to start chipping away at those top teams,” said Rau.

Coach Rau hopes that as this year’s large first-year class experiences more collegiate play, the team will move up the rankings. She also hopes to recruit a few more players for next season to build on the strong core of talented athletes.

Rau believes that competition within the team for playing time could encourage the women to always be at their best. This could also benefit the players in terms of fatigue. A larger team means less individual playing time, but more energy to draw from when players become exhausted.

Next season, the women want to work on consistency. The Kenyon and Allegheny games showed the girls at their best, but Stanek feels that there is room for improvement.

“If we practice well all spring, we definitely have a shot at beating Denison and Hiram,” said Stanek.

Meredith Leung and Hannah Tyburski, both first-years, earned all-NCAC Honorable Mentions for their efforts this season.

If the team can work on its consistency and fatigue in games, this young and skilled squad will be very successful in the future. For now, they have the offseason and the spring to work on technical aspects of their training.

“As a team in general, we’ve done a great job of adapting [to college play],” said Antonsen.

Rau said she is focused on creating a strong program that will both attract and demonstrate talent, and believes the team has made great strides towards becoming a more competitive unit.