The women’s volleyball team continued their red-hot streak this week, bringing their overall record to 10-2 with a win against SUNY Fredonia on Tuesday night. The Yellowjackets won their seventh straight match 35-33, 30-21, 30-20.
“We played good defense and stayed focused through the entire match,” head coach Linda Downey said. “The name of the game is not letting the ball hit the floor and making fewer errors than the other team. I think we did that tonight.”
After struggling to keep it close in game one, UR rallied to win 35-33 and carried the momentum into games two and three.
“We got off to a rough start, but we were able to pick it up and ended up playing awesome,” sophomore Kate Czarniak said. “Defense was a real key for us tonight-we were able to keep the ball off the floor and work as a team.”
Led by junior Liz Loveless with 30 assists, three kills, one ace and 14 digs, the Yellowjackets kept up their intensity and controlled the tempo of the game. Junior Kristen Vogt played well at the net, with 11 kills and three blocks and senior Steph Bristol had five kills, one ace, one block and 18 digs.
“We played really aggressive tonight,” Bristol said. “We didn’t let any balls drop.”
According to Downey, another major factor in UR’s success this season is the ability of two freshmen. Susan Johnson and Samantha Carr are both starters and solid contributors. Johnson finished with 16 kills and 16 digs and Carr had four assists, 17 digs and one ace.
“Our freshmen have been great,” Downey said. “They bring a lot of energy and talent to the court.”
The win against Fredonia comes on the heels of weekend wins against Oswego and Geneseo. The Yellowjackets swept both teams in the Palestra on Saturday.
“We’re playing better as a team,” Downey said. “The girls are really learning to depend on each other in certain situations.”
UR defeated Oswego 30-17, 30-22, 30-25 early in the day and then beat Geneseo 30-21, 30-27, 31-29 to sweep their doubleheader.
Against Oswego, Johnson and Vogt had 10 kills each and Loveless finished with 30 assists, 14 digs and four aces. Carr had 11 digs.
This team’s strength is their depth, with several girls able to play multiple positions.
The Yellowjackets displayed their depth with contributions from sophomore Julie Mihalek with eight digs, Czarniak with two blocks and Bristol with 10 digs.
In the match against SUNY Geneseo, Johnson and Vogt had 11 kills each, Bristol had nine kills and 13 digs and Johnson had 12 digs and one ace.
Loveless held the team together with 34 assists, eight kills and 20 digs. “Liz plays great defense and strong offense,” Downey said. “The girls really rely on her.”
UR is looking forward to the RIT Invitational this weekend on Friday and Saturday.
“This weekend at RIT will be a good tournament,” Loveless said. “It will be a good chance for us to test ourselves against some great teams.”
Downey is confident that her team’s energy will carry through. “They’re really playing well as a team – the team chemistry is great,” she said. “You know you’re playing well as a team when players can read each other and cover for each other.”
The Yellowjackets hope to carry their winning streak far into the season, but for now, they are just focusing on the present. “We don’t really look too far into the future,” Loveless said. “Right now, we’re just playing one game at a time.”
UR will play two games this Friday – taking on Oneonta at 4 p.m. and Potsdam at 6 p.m. They will play a third game on Saturday at noon against a team to be determined. All three games will be played at RIT.
Taylor can be reached at email@example.com.