Tartans steamroll Geneva 3–0 at home

The women’s volleyball team has been busy during the first two weeks of the 2006 season, playing nine matches in nine days. They came away with three wins.
“We are still getting used to playing with one another,” said senior co-captain and outside hitter Catie Fisher. “We are coming together well and pushing through.”

The Tartans opened their season at the Ohio Northern University Tournament, September 1 and 2 in Ada, Ohio, winning one out of four matches. The Tartans faced Hiram College in their first match and won the opening game (30–19), but then lost the next three and lost to Hiram 1–3. Fisher and junior outside hitter Kate Stepp led the team with eight kills apiece. Senior setter Brea Carlock added 23 assists to the Tartans’ offense.

Coming off the loss to Hiram, the Tartans were unable to come up with a win against the 19th-ranked Leons of Mount St. Joseph College, dropping all three games (17–30, 23–30, 20–30). Senior middle hitter Malenda Yablinsky led the Tartans with eight kills.

The next day the Tartans again fell behind early, losing to Ohio Northern University 1–3. Junior middle hitter Abbie Toney recorded 16 kills. Other notable performances included those of senior co-captain Kat Fox, who came up with 13 digs, and first-year setter Samantha Carter, who had 38 assists throughout the match.

After a weekend of frustration, the Tartans rallied to pull out their first win of the season, defeating Ithaca College 3–1. After losing the first game, the Tartans came back to win the remaining three (30–19, 30–23, 30–24). Toney led the team with 14 kills.

Building on their momentum from the Ithaca match, the Tartans shut down Geneva College 3–0 in their home opener in Skibo Gymnasium Wednesday night.

“Wednesday was a great stepping stone for us,” Fisher said. “I just love playing at home.”

In the first game against Geneva, Toney and Yablinsky each had three kills for a
final score of 30–17. During the second game (30–22), senior outside hitter Amanda Bradford led the team with seven kills. Fisher had collected four kills in the final game to lead the Tartans to a 30–19 finish over the Golden Tornadoes.

The Tartans were on the road again last weekend as they traveled to Cincinnati to compete at Mount St. Joseph’s Invitational. They came away from the weekend 1–3.

Opening strong, the Tartans swept Thomas Moore 3–0 on Friday night (34–32, 30–24, 30–28). Toney posted 12 kills, followed by Bradford’s 10 kills and 17 digs. Carlock and Carter each had 17 assists during the match.

“[Thomas Moore] was a good game for us to start off with,” said Fisher. “We came out strong and … were strong through the match. Our biggest asset is our energy and excitement.”

However, the Tartans’ winning streak ended in their next match against Juniata College, ranked first in the nation.

“Juniata’s been consistently ranked number one or top five in the nation for years,” junior middle hitter Becky Metler said. “We were just happy we showed them what we were made of — we held a lead for a couple of points in each game.”

Although losing all three games of the match (30–25, 30–25, 30–17), Toney added nine more kills to her weekend total and Carter led the team with 11 assists. “We fought hard in this game, and I think the scores reflected this,” Fisher said.

The second day of the tournament proved to be frustrating for the Tartans, who took on Whitman College and Capital University and fell 3–1 to both the Missionaries and the Crusaders. “Saturday was just frustrating,” Metler said. “We’d have a lead, be playing really well, [but] then an unforced error would cause us to lose the momentum.”

Against Whitman, Fisher led the team with 22 kills, followed by Toney with 13 kills and Yablinsky with 12. Carlock and Carter led the squad with 28 and 21 assists respectively. Against Capital, Fisher again led the Tartans with 22 kills and Carlock.

“We just had some communication errors and that’s usually the case with the beginning of the season especially when there are new people on the court,” said Fisher. “This is going to be ironed out within the next few weeks.”

After an up-and-down start to their season, the Tartans will return home on Thursday to face St. Vincent College at 7 p.m.

“We have a very talented team, and a lot of [the] season left, so we’ll see what happens,” said Metler. “Hopefully we can pull it together, and if we do we can be very successful.”