By Brian Hess and Nina Zimmerman
On the eve of the 13-month anniversary of their last win, the Kenyon volleyball team struck gold again. The Ladies beat Allegheny College 3-0 on Saturday, Oct. 19, snapping a 30-game losing streak dating back to September of last year.
“We made a decision to turn the season around and, despite a tough loss at Wooster, the past two weeks had been building towards that,” Co-Captain MaryJo Scott ’14 said.
Head Coach Katie Charles said even during the losing streak, the Ladies never lost sight of the light at the end of the tunnel. “We played a challenging schedule and the girls have played really well,” she said. “A win was gonna come. It was just a matter of when.”
In front of a packed house of nearly 400 on Senior Day, the Ladies fed off of the palpable energy coming from the crowd, which contained more family and friends than usual because of Family Weekend.
“The fans were awesome throughout the entire match; the high energy atmosphere in the gym really helped us out,” Scott said.
Using the energetic atmosphere as motivation, the Ladies jumped out to a fast start in the opening set, downing every Allegheny offensive attack en route to a 25-14 rout. The domination of the first set helped the Ladies keep their cool when they found themselves down 20-23 in the second set. Rather than hit the panic button, the team stayed calm and, behind kills from Co-Captain Sierra DeLeon ’14 and Katie Goulder ’16, rattled off five straight points to capture the second set 25-23.
Charles noted a huge play from Goulder kept the Ladies alive in the second set and helped them head into the third set up 2-0 instead of in a deadlock.
“One of the turning points in the match was in game two, when we were making our run back,” Charles said. “Katie Goulder, our right side, turned and hit it down the line ﾗ she hit the Allegheny girl in the face. Everyone got really pumped about it. That was the turning point where we started to click in and go.”
After that second set victory, the Ladies knew they had Allegheny against the ropes, and they refused to let up on the throttle, jumping out to an 18-9 lead before closing out the third and final set by a score of 25-17. By the middle of the third set, everyone in Tomsich Arena could taste victory. The crowd was stomping on the bleachers and screaming, the girls on the Ladies’ bench were jumping in excitement and anticipation and the players on the court were throwing their bodies around, diving for every ball, in an attempt to get closer to that elusive first win.
“I think, if anything, the closer we came to the end of that third game, the more determined we were to finish the match strong,” Scott said. “We wanted a decisive win.”
Ending a losing streak always feels great. But for the Ladies, the win meant even more because of how well all aspects of their game gelled on the gym floor Saturday. Beating a conference rival in the home stretch of the season didn’t hurt either.
“It definitely felt good, especially since it was such a team effort,” Scott said. “You look at the stats and things are distributed well ﾗ our defense stepped it up across the board which allowed all of our hitters to get some good opportunities. The fact that everyone capitalized on that was huge for us; all of our hitters came out of that match with high hitting percentages.”
As the Ladies continue their conference schedule this weekend, they are looking forward to building on a new kind of streak.
“We’re looking to take all of the good things we’ve done in the past two weeks and continue to build on them to finish the season on a good note,” Scott said.
The Ladies will take the court first with a home match against Oberlin College on Friday, Oct. 25 at 5 p.m., followed by a match at Denison University on Saturday at 2 p.m.
Ian Round contributed reporting.
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