By Jack Belanger ’21
In their first tournament of the season, the Providence College Women’s Volleyball Team had a tough past weekend in Morehead, Kentucky. Playing in the 2019 Morehead State Eagle Challenge, the Friars went 1-2 in three games, picking up their lone win over Presbyterian College, three sets to zero.
The team was originally supposed to play in the Puerto Rico Clasico to begin their season, but their trip was canceled due to Hurricane Dorian. Instead, the team played two games in Virginia and one at home, going 2-1 to start the season.
In the first game of the tournament, the Friars played Georgia State University. The Panthers would beat the Friars in four sets, each one being decided by two points. Jennifer Leitman ’23 and Addison Root ’20 were the only Friars with double-digit kills with 12 and 10, respectively. The loss brought the Friars to 2-2 on the season.
In their second game of the day, the Friars pulled out a win over the Presbyterian Blue Hose, winning easily in straight sets. It would be PC’s only win of the weekend, but the performance shows Head Coach Margot Royer-Johnson the team’s potential for the season.
“We matched up really well against Presbyterian,” said Royer-Johnson. “We were the stronger team and had a good game.”
The Friars had their best kill percentage as a team, connecting on 28 percent of their attempts. The Friars played a much cleaner game than Presbyterian, highlighted by only 12 attack errors compared to 24 for the Blue Hose.
Unfortunately, the Friars could not build on their momentum as they fell to Morehead State University in three sets. It was a tough matchup for the Friars as the Eagles had a solid defensive game, keeping the Friars under 20 points in each set.
Allison Barber ’21 also had a solid weekend for the Friars during which she was named to the All-Tournament Team. The setter recorded double-digit assists and digs in the first two games, accumulating 87 digs in the entire tournament. Her connection with Jenae Alderson ’20 was a highlight of the tournament for the Friars as both players had a successful weekend that will be crucial going forward.
Alderson was one of the best offensive players for the Friars. The fourth-year starter had kill percentages of 40, 50, and 69.2 in the three games, leading the team in each contest. Afterwards, Royer-Johnson called Alderson “our most athletic player this weekend.”
While the Friars did not do as well as they had hoped for, the team has plenty of talent moving forward to be competitive once they get into the heart of their schedule. The key for them is getting out of what Royer-Johnson calls “mental holes.”
“We are still adjusting our lineups as we used a lot of young players this weekend. We are a physically gifted team, but we are young in terms of experience,” says Royer-Johnson
The Friars will have a chance to regroup this weekend as they host the 15th Annual Friar Volleyball Classic. Last season, the Friars went undefeated in the tournament, winning three games including a big win over cross-town rival Brown University in the final game.