Sophomore Clara Martinez led the offense with 10 kills, while, on the defensive end, seniors Alexandra Goldman and Meghan Connor recorded seven block assists 15 digs, respectively.

The Yellowjackets (22–10) posted a .229 hit percentage for the match to their opponent’s .040, and had a 62–24 edge in points.

On Friday, Rochester beat Montclair St. University (23–8) in another sweep to start off the New York Regional Challenge tournament.

Mira Bodek

Mira Bodek

The sets were closer on average, but the match was still well under control, with a 60–40 split in points. The ’Jackets had another strong hitting performance, posting a .260 percentage. Sophomore Alara Kocak led with 11 kills to lead the team offensively.

The team lost its lone game of the week Saturday morning against a formidable Stevens Institute of Technology squad (29–4, #1 in New York Region). Despite losing in three sets, the team remained heavily competitive, getting edged out 52–48 in points and losing the last two sets by scores of 26–24 and 25–23.

Clara Martinez and Junior Alexandra Nelligan had double-digit kills, while sophomore Courtney Vidovich had 15 digs and two aces. The ’Jackets closed things out two hours later by sweeping Nazareth (21–9), in another 3–0 final score. The team held its opponents to an obscenely low .012 hitting- percentage, and allowed a mark of -.118 in that category for the third set.

The team’s win total through 32 games places it in strong company.

The players are a win above where the 2012 team was at the same point in its season, and it also places them in company with teams such as those from 2003–2006, which won at least 23 games in each season. The team is also ranked 103rd in Division III in the Massey Ratings, which is its best mark since the rankings were created in 2005. In addition, the team’s .648 set-win percentage would be the best in at least 15 years if the season ended today, though things promise to get more difficult with the UAA finals up ahead.

Its success owes to a well-rounded roster that places it in the upper half of the national rankings in every stat. Its strongest areas have been aces, which they rank 56th of 420 teams in nationally at 2.38 per set, and opponent hitting percentage, ranked 78th at .128. (These stats do not include Saturday’s games.)They also own a top 100 ranking in assists and kills per set, as well as in match winning percentage.

This balance has been echoed by that of this year’s freshman class, which has contributed to about 20 percent of the team’s output in each major category, as shown in the associated radar chart.

On offense, first-years Kate Korslund and Beth Ghyzel have made a strong impact, posting 1.79 kills per set and a .220 hitting percentage, respectively. On defense, Sara Apanavicius ranks third on the team with 2.26 per set, while Ghyzel is also third at 0.52 blocks per set.

Going forward, the odds are that this year’s six freshman will be able to help keep the team in solid contention.

Underclassmen production has been in abundance this season. Among sophomores, Clara Martinez leads the team in points and kills per set to go with an impressive .288 hit percentage while Courtney Vidovich leads the conference with an average of 0.50 aces per set.

The team, however, will have to replace the production of seniors such as Aimee Kohler, Meghan Connor, and Alexandra Goldman next season. The trio leads the team in assists, digs, and blocks, respectively. The stats show that there’s every reason to believe their successors will be up to the task.

The next step for the ’Jackets will be the UAA Tournament next weekend against Washington University at St. Louis. As the five seed, they will open against four-seeded Carnegie Mellon on Friday in the quarterfinals.

Tagged: URVB

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