By the time AU volleyball allowed their third point in the first set to Delaware State on Wednesday evening, the Eagles were already 10 points ahead, 13-3. The success only continued from there as AU finished off the set 25-10, and completed the sweep against the Hornets with scores of 25-9 and 25-15 in the second and third sets respectively.
The convincing win over Delaware State (0-16, 0-1 MEAC North) marked the third straight victory for the Eagles (11-7, 3-1 PL) before they host Lehigh and Lafayette this upcoming weekend in conference play to stay in contention for first place in the Patriot League.
Besides the first point of the second set, AU never trailed throughout the match. However, head coach Barry Goldberg noted that the match presented chances to provide opportunities to lots of players on their roster and begin to think about what their strongest lineup may look like when the postseason arrives.
“It was a good match in between our weekends to keep us sharper and be able to work on some things,” Goldberg said. “We got some players some time who hadn’t gotten as much time, but we were able to get a good look at them, like Meaghan Donahue. She hasn’t played maybe as much as she might have liked to, but we need to keep an eye on her because she does some good things out there.”
Donahue, a sophomore outside hitter, finished the match with seven digs and nine kills in 19 attempts. Along with junior setter Kennedy Etheridge, who tallied 23 assists on the night, Donahue was among the more active players against Delaware State, who were given a larger opportunity to showcase their abilities in live match play ahead of an important weekend.
“We are in the now. And that means this season, we have to be ready to get our best lineup together,” Goldberg said. “So the more you can get a lot of people chances, the more you can get a vision for what’s going to be our best lineup at the end and where we’re trying to go, which is the NCAA tournament.”
Wednesday’s match also resulted in an opportunity for the Eagles to fine tune their in-game strategy more so by focusing on achieving success by minimizing the amount of points they gave away. In the first and third sets, AU only made one unforced error, and only made a total of six on the night.
“Any time you keep that ball on the court, even if they keep digging, you’re going to score some points,” Goldberg said. “I think this might be the second of third time this year we had only one error in the game, zeroes are even better, but any time you only commit three or less, you’re in business to not give games away.”
AU currently sits third in the standings of the Patriot League, behind undefeated Navy and Lehigh. They can make up that ground this weekend when they host Lehigh on Friday, at 7 p.m. in Bender Arena, and Lafayette on Saturday at 4 p.m.