The Kenyon volleyball team opened conference play with a 3-2 win over DePauw University, before falling in straight sets to Hiram College. The Owls also split a pair of non-conference matches and fell to Denison College.
On Oct. 1, the Owls faced the Tigers at home. Though DePauw took a close first set 25-22 and looked ready to take a 2-0 lead in the match after leading late, Kenyon evened things up with an 8-0 run. The Owls won the third set 25-18, but the Tigers won the fourth to force a tiebreaker, which Kenyon won on the strength of a late run. For Becca Gwynne ’26, whose two kills in the tiebreaker helped win the match, opening conference play with a win showed the team’s resiliency. “We wanted that win and probably needed it too,” she wrote in an email to the Collegian. “To last all five sets and pull through with a win proves a lot of strength.”
Kenyon returned to action three days later with another NCAC match at Hiram College. The Terriers flexed their offensive muscles early, taking the first set 25-18 on the strength of their 16-3 advantage in kills. Though Kenyon kept the second set close until the end, Hiram won the final four points to take a 2-0 lead. An early 6-0 advantage gave the Terriers all the momentum they needed in the third set, and they secured the match with a 25-17 win.
Paige Milhon ’23, who had three kills in the match, highlighted improving the team’s offensive strategy as a goal for the team. “Against Hiram, I think our team can improve on being strategic with our shots and following our scout to make us more successful and effective with balls we send over the net,” she wrote in an email to the Collegian.
On Saturday, the Owls traveled to Lynchburg, Va., where they faced two non-conference foes: Randolph College (Va.) and the University of Lynchburg (Va.). After falling against Hiram, Kenyon was looking to get back on the right foot against Randolph. “We came into our Randolph game with the mindset of taking care of business,” Lindsey Abramson ’24 wrote in an email to the Collegian. “We wanted to push hard from the very first points!” After taking the first set 25-19, the Owls were lifted by a pair of late kills from Milhon and took the set 30-28. With a sweep on the horizon, the Owls trailed just once in the third set and went on to win 25-18.
To Milhon, the match against Randolph proved Kenyon’s ability to be competitive against any team. “While keeping them out of system, we also managed to prevent errors on our side of the court and made Randolph earn their points,” she said.
Unfortunately, the Owls found themselves on the wrong side of a sweep in their match against the Hornets. Though all three sets were close, Kenyon was never able to find their stride, falling 25-19, 25-21, 25-18 in the match.
The Owls were unable to regain their momentum as they fell in straight sets to the Big Red on Wednesday. Though Kenyon kept the first set close at the beginning, Denison quickly pulled away, winning 25-19. Despite Kenyon coming close to tying the match at a set apiece, Denison overcame multiple deficits and clinched the second set 25-23. The Big Red completed the sweep by winning a tight 25-21 set.
With a record of 3-15 (1-2 NCAC), the Owls will return to action against No. 11 Wittenberg University at home on Saturday. Gwynne believes that success depends on building team chemistry, rather than dwelling on past matches. “We need to work together, trust each other, work harder than ever, and honestly have some fun,” she said. “By the end of these games, I want to feel as though every person on the team, including those that don’t play, gave everything they had, and left everything on the court.”