February 8, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 41°F


Volleyball win streak comes to an end at Empire 8 tri-match

The volleyball team took a loss and picked up a win in a double-header against the Stevens Institute of Technology Ducks and the Nazareth College Golden Flyers on Oct. 10 in Rochester, New York. The Blue and Gold are now 20–2 overall and 5–1 in Empire 8 Conference play.

The double-header for the Bombers did not get off to great start as the Blue and Gold dropped only their second match of the year to the the reigning Empire 8 champions, Stevens 25–22, 25–18 and 25–21.  

Both the Bombers and the Ducks entered the match undefeated in the Empire 8, but with the Bombers on a 15-game winning streak, it seemed that things would fall in the Bombers’ favor. That, however, was not the case, as the Blue and Gold could not seem to find their rhythm for most of the match, playing from behind for practically the entire match.

The squad showed sign of life early on in the first set, storming back to tie the game at 22 after being down by five early on.  But after a timeout by Stevens, the Ducks were able to close out the first set and shut down the the comeback aspirations of the Bombers.

Motivated to make up for their first-set blunder, the Bombers took the court in the second set and got back to old habits, surging out in front to a 15–10 lead.  But a timeout from Stevens saw another Bomber comeback thwarted.  

With the help of sophomore Sydni Horner’s impressive serving and 15 digs in the match, the Ducks went on a 9–0 run to lead the second set 19–15, eventually shutting the Blue and Gold down again for a 25–18 second-set win.

The third set was back-and-forth early on, but when the Ducks hopped out to an early 4-point advantage, the South Hill squad could never really close the gap and fell 25–21.

The Ducks were carried by the superb play of junior Christina Sciarra who racked up 13 kills and a .300 hit percentage. Senior Catie Shelton added 27 assists and 6 digs in the Ducks’ effort.

The Bombers played the game without head coach Janet Donovan, who was out for medical reasons. Assistant coach Derryk Williams took over coaching duties for the day.

Although it was a tough loss for the Bombers to take, sophomore captain Joelle Goldstein continued a solid 2015 campaign with 10 kills and a .296 hitting percentage while other sophomore captain Kayla Gromen, dished out 31 assists and 13 digs for the Blue and Gold.

The Bombers’ second match of the day saw their season’s good form return as the Blue and Gold were able to come back from a two-sets-to-one deficit and defeat the Nazareth Golden Flyers, 3–2 — 25–22, 20–25, 17–25, 25–10 and 15–13.

The Bombers, who lost both matches against Nazareth in 2014, played a solid first set in which they jumped out to a 23–16 lead before Nazareth clawed its way back into the game when it rattled off a 5–0 run of its own. The Bombers were able to recuperate from the run and close out the first set 25–22.

However, the Blue and Gold did not play as well as they wanted to in both the second and third sets. Behind the stellar serving of junior Brianna Spears, the Golden Flyers were able to take a 17–7 lead over the Bombers after a 13–1 run that saw the momentum of the match swing in favor of the Golden Flyers.

It was all Nazareth from that point on as the Golden Flyers closed out the second set 25–20, and then quickly got back in the groove in the third set, being a similar story for the Bombers. The Golden Flyers kept on with their solid play from juniors Cady Messmer, who tallied 14 kills and 15 digs, and Maureen Thayer, who collected 37 assists and took the third set 25–17, with the Bombers failing to make anything swing their way.

But something kicked into gear for the Bombers in the fourth set as they rolled over the Golden Flyers 25–10. The squad was relentless in its attack during the set, hitting a whopping .462 percent to go along with 13 kills.  The outstanding play on defense forced the Golden Flyers to earn every point and held Nazareth to a -.029 hitting percentage. With the momentum now on the side of the Bombers, the Blue and Gold looked to take over the fifth and final set.

The fifth set saw the game go back and forth as teams traded points with each other. It was the Bombers, however, who finally broke the lull in the match and pressed ahead for 14–11 lead.

A few plays later saw the Golden Flyers serve fall short as the Blue and Gold emerged victorious for the 20th time this season. Gromen continued her productive day for the Bombers, rattling off 42 assists and 11 digs, while sophomore Caroline Gerulskis lead the Bombers offense with 13 kills. Goldstein was a presence yet again, contributing 16 digs. Freshman Kyle Dandrea recorded 15 digs in the win.  

The volleyball team will resume action when it competes at the Wellesley Invitational on Oct. 16 and 17 at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts where they will face University of Southern Maine, Babson College and the host, Wellesley College.

Cal Dymowski can be reached at jdymowski@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @CalDymowski