After posting a third place finish in the Rochester Institute of Technology Tournament over the weekend, the women’s volleyball team was swept on Tuesday night by RIT, 20-30, 24-30 and 26-30. Tuesday’s loss was the second to the Tigers in just four days. RIT defeated the Yellowjackets Saturday in the tournament semifinals.

“We didn’t play up to our potential either time we played RIT,” freshman Susan Johnson said. “They are an extremely strong team.”

Head Coach Linda Downey attributes the loss to a lack of unity. “We had trouble setting up our offense because of poor passing and were therefore very out of the team play concept,” she said.

In the loss to RIT, junior Kristin Vogt led the team with 13 kills and four blocks. Johnson added 11 kills and 12 digs and fellow freshman Samantha Carr had 15 digs. Sophomore Kate Czarniak contributed five kills and three blocks and sophomore Liz Loveless anchored the offense with 29 assists.

RIT capitalized on a slow start by the Yellowjackets and ran away with the first game. UR tried to stage a comeback in the second and third games, but their efforts fell short.

“Our serve receive was not as good as it usually is the entire match, which definitely hurt us,” senior Stephanie Bristol said. “It gave them anywhere from a five to 10 point lead at times.”

Despite the losses against RIT, the Yellowjackets are optimistic about their upcoming schedule, especially in light of the third place finish at the tournament.

UR reached the semifinals by sweeping SUNY Oneonta, 30-19, 33-31, 30-11 and SUNY Potsdam, 30-12, 30-16, 30-11, on Friday. After being defeated by RIT in the semifinals on Saturday, the Yellowjackets went on to claim third place with a win over St. John Fisher, 30-13, 30-26, 30-24.

“I think the way we played on Friday at the RIT Tournament showed how capable each player on this team is of playing their position and forcing out teammates to play their position,” Bristol said. “In doing those things, communicating and staying tough, we have all the ingredients for what it takes to make up the perfect team.”

Against Oneonta, Loveless had 38 assists, Johnson posted 17 kills and 20 digs and Vogt added 12 kills and four blocks.

The Yellowjackets carried their momentum into the Potsdam game where Loveless finished with 28 assists, Carr had 17 digs and five aces and Johnson contributed 15 kills and nine digs.

“Our team played really well on Friday of the tournament,” Johnson said. “We really seemed to gel together, but we seemed to lose some of it on Saturday during the RIT match.”

UR snapped their nine match winning streak with their semifinals loss to the Tigers on Saturday by a score of 30-17, 27-30, 27-30, 26-30.

“In our first match against RIT, we struggled,” Downey said. “They are a very athletic team and played strong throughout.”

In the loss against RIT, Loveless had 48 assists and 28 digs, Vogt made 22 kills and Johnson added 18 kills and 27 digs.

The Yellowjackets were able to defeat Fisher in an easy three games, 30-13, 30-26, 30-24 for their third place finish.

Loveless finished the Fisher match with 34 assists and 14 digs. Her stats earned her a spot on the All-Tournament Team, tallying a tournament total of 148 assists. It was her second All-Tournament honor this season.

“Liz Loveless does an exceptional job for us and was recognized for it,” Downey said.

In addition to the All-Tournament honor, Loveless was named Rochester Area College Athletics Female Athlete of the Week.

The Yellowjackets continue their season with a rematch at Fisher this Thursday. UR hopes that their recent losses and the tournament competition will make them a better team. “I think that playing teams like these really reveal our weaknesses and will help us prepare to play the teams that are in the UAA,” Johnson said. “I think that we have some things to work on and that the Fisher match will be a good one to work on the things we need to improve.”

Bristol agreed. “This is a very intense team, with an intense schedule and we need to stay focused on what’s ahead instead of worrying about what’s already happened,” she said. “There’s nothing we can do now about the past except use it to teach us what we can do better in the games to come.”

UR will play at Fisher on Thursday at 7 p.m.

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