Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Tuesday, April 23, 2019

AU volleyball strengthens grasp on first place with weekend wins

Women’s volleyball lose only one set over the weekend to Patriot League competitors

AU volleyball strengthens grasp on first place with weekend wins

First team Patriot League selection Kennedy Etheridge plays in a game in 2017. 

The AU volleyball team carried momentum coming off a weeklong break to win crucial Patriot League matchups against both Army West Point (16-9, 9-3 PL) and Holy Cross (4-21, 1-11 PL).

The Army West Point Black Knights came into the matchup at 8-2 in the Patriot League, a record that could challenge AU for first place in the standings. However, after a strong offensive performance by the Eagles, Army fell to 8-3 in the league and currently stands in second place, two games behind the Eagles.

The Eagles (20-7, 11-1 PL) started the match in a rut, giving away the first five points after a week of rest and no games. Cheyenne Orsi started the comeback for the Eagles and continued to have a great night with 27 total attempts and a kill percentage of .259.

The Eagles struggled through the second set, eventually falling 22-25 to Army. After the break, the Eagles came out flying, winning the third and fourth sets 25-18 and 25-23 respectively. Aleksandra Kazala had another impressive offensive night with 18 kills and a kill percentage of .500.

“This isn’t a ‘one goal and you’re up’ type of game,” head coach Barry Goldberg said after the game. “You know, you have to score 25 points in this game. Yes, it was a slower start, and we were looking at five to nothing. You saw how we were able to bring that momentum back, and that’s very important.”

The Eagles had no issues against Holy Cross on Saturday in Bender Arena. They dominated the first set 25-12, winning 9 of the last 11 points to secure the set. Kazala again had a dominating offensive performance, scoring seven of her 11 kills in the first set. The Eagles won the next two sets 28-26, and 25-18.

“We don’t have the luxury of being together and playing all summer long together,” Goldberg said. “We show up here on August 7th to play together for the first time. It just takes us a few weeks longer to gel and learn to play with each other.”

The Eagles have improved throughout the season after struggling starting the season 5-5 through their first 10 matches. This is important as they head into the last games of the season with a two-game lead over the second place Army Black Knights. Currently, the Eagles would host the Patriot League tournament at Bender Arena later this month if maintain their two-game lead over the remaining four regular season games.

The Eagles look to continue their winning streak with weekend road games Friday at 7:00 p.m. against Lafayette and Saturday at 5:00 p.m. against Lehigh. After that, the regular season wraps up at home and the Eagles look ahead to the Patriot League tournament.

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