The Ladies completed their season over the weekend, going 2-1 in North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) tournament play and defeating a pair of conference rivals on their way to a fifth-place finish. After losing to the DePauw University Tigers in the quarterfinals by scores of 25-21, 25-22 and 25-11, the Ladies recovered nicely, claiming consecutive victories over Oberlin College and Denison University.
In their match against the Yeowomen, who defeated Kenyon in the regular season, the Ladies relied on a pair of underclassmen, Tierney McClure ’18 and Delaney Swanson ’19; the duo combined for 18 kills and three blocks during the match. The Ladies won by scores of 25-22, 25-16 and 25-22.
The Ladies then played Denison, another squad that got the best of Kenyon earlier in the season. This time the Ladies won the match 25-16, 25-23, 25-17 thanks to a game-high 21 kills from Swanson. The victory netted Kenyon its fifth-place finish in the NCAC tournament.
“When we first played Denison and Oberlin, we were sort of in a slump and not playing well,” McClure said. “Those two games were the ones we wished we could’ve had another shot at, so when we had another chance we just played like we knew how, with a lot of energy and discipline.”
In addition to finishing in fifth place in the NCAC tournament, the Ladies cemented their first winning season in 25 years with the weekend wins.
“It was a great end to the season to be able to beat Denison and Oberlin after losing to them in the regular season,” Head Coach Amanda Krampf said. “We were able to start out strong in each set, remaining disciplined in our game, not letting the other teams go on long runs. We kept our competitive mentality from the start of the day Saturday until the end. Every player on our team was excited about every point.”
The team’s season started off slowly, with the Ladies losing their first five NCAC matches, but they ended on a strong note by winning two of their last three conference matches.
“The season as a whole was a very successful one,” Krampf said. “We were able to meet our goals as a team, which is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our current players. They bought into the program and worked hard to get better every single week. From here we will reset our goals and continue to improve and grow as a team.”
For returning players like McClure, this is only the beginning of a building process that team members hope will ultimately land Kenyon at the top of the NCAC standings in the coming years.
“We had a rough patch during our season, but our coaches always say you want to peak at the end of the season, which we did,” McClure said. “This was also a groundbreaking season, the first winning record since the 1990s, which we are very proud of. Next year we won’t have to go through the stage of getting to know each other, so it only goes up from here.”eva