posted on: Thursday October 28, 2010
Sean Bailey ’14 / Sports Staff
Leading into this weekend, the Women’s Volleyball Team was at a crossroads in their season. They were slipping below .500, they were shuffling lineups, and they were in the midst of a five game losing streak. Facing this dilemma, the Friars settled on trekking forward in search of success, but the weekend was met with mixed results. While Friday brought jubilation as the Friars swept America East rival UNH at home, it was quickly followed by frustration for PC, as they fell at UNH in straight sets.
For the Friars, Friday would be remembered as the end of a dismal stretch, as they snapped a five game losing skid in style, setting down the Wildcats in straight sets at Mullaney Gym. The Friars came out with a lot of intensity, energy, passion, and zeal, and kept up this intensity throughout the match.
“We just decided that we wanted to come to play, and not be afraid,” said Head Coach Margot Royer-Johnson following the vital win Friday. “And we really stepped up today and played well.”
The intensity was evident from the opening serve Friday, as Shelagh Dolan ’12 came out with a vicious kill that set the tone for the Friars. That intensity would not be dropped throughout the first set, which went back and forth throughout. After the set was knotted up at seven, the Friars went on an 11-5 run, which built the Friars lead to 18-12 before UNH called a timeout to regroup. After the timeout, the Wildcats started to claw back into the game, deadlocking things at 22 before the Friars finally finished off their foe. The win was keyed by a UNH error and a Cassie Muzzonigro ’13 ace, before Lauren Fletcher ’12 finalized things with a block, resulting in a 26-24 set win for the Friars.
The second set started ominously for the Friars when UNH came out firing, quickly grabbing an 8-3 advantage. But the Friars battled, refusing to quit in the set, and tied the Wildcats at 15, which set up a frantic back and forth throughout the remainder of the set. It would be back and forth until Fletcher notched a kill that tied things at 19, at which point the Friars took the reins, driving UNH down by going on a 6-2 run, which was keyed by UNH errors before an ace gave PC a 25-21 set win.
The Friars, sensing blood in the water, looked to pounce on the Wildcats, but for their part, UNH came out ready to fight until the end, and an epic battle ensued. Both teams would struggle back and forth, with no team getting more than a two-point lead in the set, until UNH jumped ahead with two unanswered points, swelling their lead to 18-15 before PC called a timeout. UNH continued relentlessly, however, building what seemed to be a comfortable 21-16 lead. The Friars had other ideas, however, as they started to kick it into hyper-drive, battling back to tie things up at 22, forcing two UNH timeouts along the way. Once they tied it up, they never looked back and the Friars vanquished their America East foes, taking the set 25-23.
“There was definitely a consistent energy out there today,” said Carly Morrison ’12 of the Friars’ play against UNH.
Starring in the game for the Friars was Fletcher, who had six kills, five digs, and two blocks in the match, with a team high 11.5 points. Dolan also had six kills along with two blocks. Morrison played a Steve Nash-like role, assisting 19 times and having three kills. Lauren Hendel ’12 and Kourtney Halliday ’11 each had three kills as well, while Muzzonigro had a team high 19 digs defensively for the Friars.
“This was a total team effort today,” said Royer-Johnson, “No one really stood out today.”
It would be the Sunday matchup at UNH that proved to be miserable for the Friars, as they fell in straight sets, 25-16, 25-22 and 25-19. The Wildcats reaped the benefits of an error-prone Friars team all day.
UNH asserted their dominance in the first set, capitalizing on seven PC errors, to take the set 25-16.
PC would grab a lead in the second set at 20-18, but errors proved to be the Achilles’ heel for the Friars, as they fell again 25-22.
The third set was a hard-fought battle, as there were nine ties before the Wildcats took the last and final set 25-19.
Front lining the Friars effort was Fletcher, who amassed 12 kills in the match, hitting a .391. Dolan added another stellar six kills, while Morrison collected 20 assists. Muzzonigro starred defensively getting 10 digs. The Friars record goes to 10-17, with a 2-5 clip in America East. The Friars visit Hartford on Friday, Oct. 29, and then hit Stony Brook on Sunday, Oct. 31. Providence returns home for two final home games next weekend.