This past Saturday, the volleyball team traveled to Keuka Park for head-to-head matches in the Keuka Classic. Their first game of the day was against the Cougars of Concordia University Chicago and didn’t quite go as planned.

‘We struggled getting into a rhythm in the match,” head coach Ladi Iya said.

The Yellowjackets’ lack of collaboration was evident as the match progressed and Concordia was able to grab the win, 25-14, 25-17, 25-16. Even though the ‘Jackets did not do as well as they would have liked, it was not for lack of effort on the part of the players. Senior setter Kate Lewis had 18 assists, while senior outside hitter Jessica Rasmussen, sophomore middle blocker Sarah Kauper and freshman middle blocker Katie Kao, combined for 13 kills in the match. Sophomore libero Tayler Schweigel impressively gave the Cougars something to worry about with 16 digs, and Rasmussen added 12 digs.

The ‘Jackets’ spirits were not high going into their second match of the day, but they somehow pulled it together for a solid 3-1 win over the Keuka College Storm Runners.

‘We came out with intent in this match,” Iya said.

UR showed that it meant business against Keuka, winning 25-14, 21-25, 25-9, 25-10. The Storm Runners came out in the second game with strong intent and high spirits. After a lot of back and forth scoring, the Storm Runners pulled off a 25-21 victory to stay in the match.

This didn’t stop the ‘Jackets, though. UR came back stronger than ever in the third game, keeping Keuka at bay by holding them to just nine points. By the time the fourth set came around, the ‘Jackets were determined to put up a solid win for the day, and they did.
Holding the Lady Storm Runners to just 10 points, UR rose to challenge and improved its record to 8-9.

In the match against the Storm Runners, it was truly a team effort. There were many substitutions coming into the match, and they were all able to successfully make plays and bring a fresh enthusiasm into the game.

The Yellowjackets’ defense was really the difference between the two matches. Against Keuka, Schwiegel was solid and consistent. With 32 digs, she provided a stonewall defense to the Storm Runners’ best attempts.

Schwiegel made great passes and kept the ball in play effectively, but was not alone in her efforts. Rasmussen recorded 17 digs, Lewis had 12 and freshman defensive specialist Allyson Marsh logged 12 digs.

On the offensive side, Lewis was a tremendous asset. With 34 assists, she controlled the pace of the game.

Lewis also did a phenomenal job getting the sets to Kao and Kauper in the middle and Rasmussen and junior outside hitter Emily Hunter on the outside. Kauper and Rasmussen both had eight kills, Hunter was just behind with seven, and sophomore right side Cat Kane also had a great offensive day with five kills.

Kauper and Kao also combined for three solo blocks and five block assists. Sophomore defensive specialist Katie Drinkwater led the team serving with four aces. The team as a whole recorded 10 aces.

In the end, teamwork and spirit was huge for the ‘Jackets. During the first match of the tournament, UR couldn’t pull it together, and in the end the Yellowjackets’ disconnect and errors led to defeat. The Cougars saw the weaknesses and exploited it to their full benefit.
But the difficult loss to Concordia didn’t break the spirit of the players, as UR finished the day off with a win.

Up next for the Yellowjackets is a match-up against SUNY Fredonia. Last season, UR dropped two games to Fredonia, including an 0-3 loss at home on Senior Night.

Fredonia is currently on a seven-game win streak and sits at 5-0 in conference and 11-6 overall.

Rogers is a member of the class of 2012.

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