The Elizabethtown College women’s volleyball team placed third in last weekend’s Days Inn Blue Jay Classic, with a record of 2-2. The tournament took place on Friday Sept. 18 and Saturday Sept. 19, at Elizabethtown Area High School.
The Blue Jays started off strong in their first match of the tournament, beating Cabrini College for their sixth win in a row. They took Cabrini down in three games with final scores of 18-25, 20-25 and 19-25, respectively.
Freshman outside hitter Kristina Smith led the team’s offense with 13 kills and had 2 blocks. Fellow freshman right/outside hitter Janae Moran contributed 10 kills and 2 blocks of her own, while freshman middle hitter Mackenzie Garner had 8 kills and 2 blocks as well. Senior setter Steph High had 39 assists. Senior libero/defensive specialist Shannon Deck had 15 digs and senior outside hitter Juliana Mowen followed closely behind with 12 digs, as well as 7 kills and 3 aces.
Etown was then defeated later that same day by Carnegie Mellon, who had a tournament record of 3-1 and was runner-up. Carnegie won the first game by six points, and the second game by nine. The Blue Jays came back fighting, and won the next two games by two points each. The Blue Jays started off strong in the fifth game, pulling ahead to a 10-5 lead just before Carnegie scored five points in a row and shortly thereafter won the match at 16-14.
In the five games against Carnegie, the Blue Jays had an unusually high number of errors, totaling 36, compared to Carnegie’s 21. Despite this setback, Moran played strong offensively and picked up 20 kills and 8 aces. Smith contributed 13 kills and 15 digs, while Deck had 24 digs. Garner added 10 kills to the team’s total of 57. High led the team with 44 assists.
Despite this loss, High is still “pleased with [the team’s] performance against Carnegie.” Carnegie is a nationally ranked team, yet as High points out, the Blue Jays stepped up to the challenge and “fought back from a 0-2 deficit, to take them to 5 games,” which is not an easy feat.
On the second day of the Days Inn Blue Jay Classic, the Blue Jays first faced off against Rochester, won all three games, and earned their tenth win of the season. The scores for each individual game were 20-25, 11-25 and 13-25, respectively.
Garner led Etown’s offense with 8 kills and put up 4 blocks. Smith had 8 digs and 6 kills, and Moran had 5 kills. Deck had 6 digs, and High led the team with 20 assists, and contributed 2 kills.
In their last match of the tournament, the Blue Jays were up against Eastern, who went undefeated in their four tournament matches. After Etown won the first game by ten points, Eastern proceeded to take the remaining three games with final scores of 18-25, 10-25 and 18-25, respectively.
Deck had 14 digs against Eastern. Smith contributed 12 digs and 10 kills, and Moran added 10 of her own kills, as well as 2 blocks. Freshman setter Kristin Halliday had 25 assists and 3 aces.
The Blue Jays currently hold a season record of 10-4. Overall, High feels that the team “did great this weekend” and she is pleased with the team’s performance so far this year. She feels that the team is “starting to mesh well as a unit,” and most importantly, the team members “trust each other.” High shares that they are also starting to learn one another’s habits, which is especially important for the team, given the high number of freshman they have.
The Blue Jays have two upcoming matches against both Susquehanna and Juniata which are set to take place on Saturday Sept. 26