Section: Sports

Volleyball still trying to find their form, remain optimistic

Volleyball still trying to find their form, remain optimistic

Owls continue searching for their stride. | COURTESY OF ISOO O’BRIEN

The Kenyon volleyball team’s struggles continued as they went winless in three matches during the Hanover College Tournament in Indiana over the weekend. On Wednesday, they fell in straight sets to No. 11 Otterbein University at home.

In Kenyon’s first match of the tournament, they faced off against Berea College (Ky.). The Mountaineers pulled ahead early in the first set. Although the Owls rallied to get the deficit down to one, the Mountaineers were able to close out the match with a 25-22 win. In the second set, Kenyon went on an early run, winning the first seven points. Their strong play continued throughout the set, and they won 25-16. Though momentum seemed to be shifting in Kenyon’s favor, Berea took the final two sets each by a score of 25-19 to win the match 3-1. For Lindsey Abramson ’24, who had 10 kills and two blocks in the match, the importance of taking points in close sets was paramount. “We learned that a few points here and there will make the difference in a game,” she wrote in an email to the Collegian.

On the second day of the tournament, Kenyon faced off against the Adrian College Bulldogs (Mich.) and the Westminster College Blue Jays (Mo.). The Owls won two of the first three sets against the Bulldogs convincingly, each by a score of 25-14. While both sets were close to start, Kenyon went on scoring runs to secure its victories. Up two sets to one, Kenyon hoped to win the fourth set to take the match and avoid a tie-breaking fifth set. However, Adrian had other plans, holding the Owls to just 13 points in their fourth set win. Though the two teams traded the lead back and forth to start the fifth set, the Bulldogs took command after an Owls error and a kill, eventually winning the set 15-10 and the match 3-2.

Against Westminster, Kenyon found itself down one set after a close 25-22 defeat. Kenyon clawed back to win both the second and third sets by a score of 25-21, putting the team in position to take the match. But for the second time that day, their opponent played spoiler, and the Blue Jays won the fourth 25-18. Though Kenyon made the final set close, they fell 16-14, and Westminster took the match 3-2. Eras Yager ’23 emphasized being able to close out five-set matches as a skill the team will have to develop as the season progresses. “I think we need to push hard at the end of those games,” she wrote in an email to the Collegian. “Both of those matches were lost within a few points and it would only take a few good plays to swing the match in our favor.”

Back home on Wednesday, the Owls found themselves up against a tough opponent in the Cardinals. Otterbein jumped out to an early lead in the first set, forcing Kenyon into a 10-3 deficit. The Cardinals kept their momentum up, winning 25-15. The second set was much of the same, as Otterbein took the first four points. The Owls were never able to string together any scoring runs and found themselves on the wrong side of a 2-0 lead. Pushed to the brink of a loss, Kenyon pulled ahead in the third set 15-8 and looked in control of the match. But a comeback was not meant to be, as the ranked Cardinals rallied off seven unanswered points to tie the match. Though Kenyon kept the set close toward the end, Otterbein took the set 25-22 and the match 3-0.

For Yager, continued success for the team will come with time, as the team learns to play as a unit. “All of the sets we have won against other teams have been when we were having fun as a group, and keeping the ball in play letting the other team make the mistakes,” she said. 

With their record sitting at 1-9, the Owls will return to action on Saturday with a pair of home matches against Case Western Reserve University and University of Mount Union.

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