Corsairs volleyball loses ground to Connecticut College’s offense

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By Owen Lee, Staff Writer

On October 21, in the final tri-match of the season, the Corsairs unfortunately fell to both the Southern Maine Huskies and the Connecticut College Camels. In both matches, the final score was 3-0, an unfortunate display for the Corsairs, and in UMass’s own Tripp Athletic Center no less. In the tri-match, the Camels came out on top with no losses, while the Huskies split the difference with a win and a loss.

Against Southern Maine, UMass’s plays were still decently strong. UMass faced impressive players like senior Jess Williamson, who led the offensive with 16 of the Huskies’ 41 total kills, aided by Nicole Schmitz’s 33 counted assists and Mariah Garcia’s 15 digs. UMass countered with their own talent; first year Alivia Connors and sophomore Nicole Silverman, who got 21 successful kills between them, sophomore Jordan Rittberger, who made 20 successful assists, and sophomore libero Jillian Sykora, who scored 11 digs this game and led the team defensively the whole day, along with Amanda Lacroix.

However, Corsair talent wasn’t enough to keep the quick and aggressive Huskies at bay, who used the first set to take the Corsairs by surprise. After a brutal 25-8 at intermission, the Corsairs dug their heels and fought back against their opponent, making their hardest efforts in the final set, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to earn a set. The Huskies’ hitting percentage was .360, compared to UMass’s less successful .111, and they also displayed a stronger defense with a higher number of successful blocks (7.0 to UMass’s 1.0) and digs (48 to UMass’s 32).

The match against Connecticut was a nightcap game. In this match recent history would be repeated, as the Camels’ offense would throw UMass off-balance in the first set, and it would prove to be more than UMass could handle tonight. Connecticut’s attack was lead by first year Emma Hewlin, who scored a total of 15 kills without one attack error out of 27 attempts, and she was supported by accomplished setter Grace McGee. UMass’s Amanda LaCroix did damage control by making 13 digs and scoring eight kills across the entire game. However, it seems the Corsairs’ fighting spirit had left them by the end of the game, with the final scores for each set totalling 25-9, 25-20, and 25-10. Connecticut’s hit percentage rose to .440, while UMass’s dropped to .079 as their will wore down.

These matches were quick, but they were painful and surprising. It’s not hard to imagine that getting caught off guard in their first game of the day would color the rest of the night with a sense of frustration and discouragement. Although the last tri-match is over, the season’s not fully done quite yet. The next game for UMass is a Little East Conference play, located at Rhode Island College. Hopefully time will heal their wounds, and the team can use what’s left of the season to build up some winning momentum for their upcoming games.

Photo Courtesy: corsairathletics.com

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