The AU women’s volleyball team extended its winning streak to 14 consecutive games on Oct. 22, defeating Loyola University in three straight sets. The Eagles swept the visiting Greyhounds 25-13, 25-16, 25-13.
The Greyhounds struggled to compete against the Eagles, sporting a bench with only two substitutes with only one healthy upperclassman.
The Eagles found holes in the Greyhounds’ defense early, with freshman Erin Swartz getting an easy block at the net to bring the Eagles up 24-11 on the way to an easy first set. By the end of the match, Swartz scored five of the Eagle’s 12.5 total blocks for the match.
“I think it’s really important to have a very deep team, playing each person and making sure everyone gets in there and gets some experience in their position,” junior outside hitter Allison Cappellino said. “Definitely in matches where we can do that, we’ll take advantage of it.”
The lack of depth showed early on for the Greyhounds, forcing them to take a timeout early in the first set after the Eagles strung together a run of nine straight points.
American senior setter Monica Smidova spread the ball among the entire team with a team high 29 assists, a goal which head coach Barry Goldberg had told her to focus on during the match.
“We talked to our team during the pre-game meeting about just increasing them individually in their output,” Goldberg said. “To blockers, we talked about that we haven’t been a great blocking team this year to date. We blocked more balls tonight; it might’ve been one of the better ones this year.”
While the Greyhounds struggled to find substitutes during the game, American let their best players rest during the game, allowing all 12 players to get playing time.
Loyola struggled to return the Eagles’ spikes and committed several unforced errors throughout the match. The Greyhounds have only won one set against Patriot League opponents this season, and they face injuries to key seniors.
“They have a couple of players who are hurt. They’ve lost a few players throughout the year,” Goldberg said. “You have a scouting report about what’s coming at you, but in games like this here it’s mostly ‘take care of your own business and we’ll be a good team together.’”
Looking forward, the Eagles play their last non-conference game of the regular season against crosstown rival George Washington University on Oct. 29 at Bender Arena.
“I think the out-of-league matches are important for us because it’s an opportunity to get better and play teams that we don’t know as well,” Cappellino said. “We wish we were ranked a little higher, but that’s just motivation for us to work harder.”