Tartan volleyball extends win streak to nine games

The first set went up, reached the apex of its parabolic arc, and fell down back to Earth like a firework climbing into a black night sky, and was spiked into the ground for what would have been a point if the match had started yet. Instead, the hitter’s face ended up mashed into the net for an awkwardly exciting start to the second home match of the Tartan’s volleyball season. The Tartans were 6–5 on the season, with a four game win streak coming into their matchup against the Franciscan College Lady Barons on Tuesday, Sept. 18.

After playing the first seven points and a Lady Barons timeout, the Tartans were up by a score of 6–1 thanks to two double hits by the Lady Barons; the only Lady Barons point came off a miscommunication in the Tartan backcourt at the end of a long point. The Tartans kept the pressure up over the next few points, forcing a few more Lady Baron errors and a timeout at a score of 11–2 Tartans. For the first points, the Tartans played a conservative brand of volleyball to establish their quick lead, but after some poor serves and one or two poor on-court decisions, the Lady Barons showed a little bit of life. However, a few errors—an illegal block and an illegal spike—and three aces in a row pushed the Tartans to the 25 points needed to win the first game.

The second set started back and forth between the Lady Barons and the Tartans, with each team making various errors or serving mistakes. Then, the Tartans slowly added two or three points to the Lady Barons one, and quickly, the Tartans were up 15–7 in the second game. After the unsure start, the Tartans dispatched the Lady Barons in short order, winning ten of the last twelve points in the game for a final game score of 25–9.

At the start of the third game, the Lady Barons took the first point, but the Tartans again found themselves with a solid lead of 6–2 early into the third, and hopefully, final game; over the next handful of points the Tartans and Lady Barons went back and forth, until two mishits off the Tartan serve led to a lead stretching into seven points halfway through the game. Off a series of services from junior Maia So-Holloway, the Tartans strong armed to a streak of ten points that ended with the score 24–8 Tartans on a serve that went just long. In a frankly melancholic ending to a dominant performance by the Tartans, the last point was won off a tap over the net into open court with no chance of being dug out by the Lady Barons’ libero.

In a total match time of just two minutes over an hour, the Tartans beat the Franciscan University Lady Barons by a score of 3–0 (25–9, 25–9, 25–9). The Tartans began the game by stomping on the gas, and they never let up; the Lady Barons never had a chance. So-Holloway was one of the standout players in the game, with 16 of the Tartans’ 25 assists in the game and 8 service aces—the most by any player on the court—of the team’s 24. Lauren Mueller had the second most service aces, 7, but had zero service errors through all of her attempts. First-year Vivian Beaudoin and senior Sydney Bauer had the most kills and digs, respectively, on the night, with Beaudoin garnering 6 kills and Bauer recording 9 digs. In total, the Tartans had 29 kills to 9 attack errors and 24 service aces to 5 service errors. Franciscan struggled considerably more, with a negative ratio of kills to errors—12 kills to 14 errors—and a negative ratio of service aces to errors—1 ace to 3 errors. On top of that, zero of the 24 services aces by the Tartans hit the court without a Lady Baron hand hitting it; that means all 24 aces by the Tartans were off Lady Baron return errors. The Tartans may have been pushing the envelope the entire game, but the number of errors by the Lady Barons tell that they didn’t put up much of a fight, either.

At the Carnegie Mellon DoubleTree Invitational held on Carnegie Mellon’s campus in Skibo Gymnasium this past weekend, the Tartans swept all four of their opponents to extend their winning streak to nine matches. In the home tournament, they posted 3–0 wins against Marietta College, Kean University, the University of Mount Union, and the University of Mary Washington.

The Tartan volleyball team has been on fire recently, and they hope to keep the momentum going forward, as they have just one week left until the beginning of their conference tournament. On Saturday, September 29, the Tartans will be at Brandeis University to kick off the University Athletic Association (UAA) Round Robin #1.