The Elizabethtown College women’s volleyball team continues to live up to the goal of erasing the bad memories from last year’s losing season with hard work and the determination to get to the Commonwealth Conference playoffs.
Head Coach Randall Kreider believes the season is much different this year because they have a different roster, they work harder and they are seeing better results. “One of the keys to this year is how we’re a family,” Kreider said. “We can do this athletically, but it’s also about how we manage personalities and come together as a group.”
Last Friday in the Old Friends Crossover in Bethlehem, Pa., the Blue Jays first fell in a close match with the Moravian College Greyhounds and then rallied to defeat the Susquehanna University Crusaders. Both teams were in the same conference as the Jays at one point, so the teams have been playing each other for 15 to 20 years and there are no secrets between them, according to Kreider.
During the match against the Greyhounds, first-year Tori Brokaw and Juliana Mowen led Etown in kills, both women earning double figure kills for the first time as Blue Jays. Junior Carolyn Lukiewski had the match high with 23 digs, while sophomore Taylor Beck had 10 digs and first-year Mary Clyne set for the team with 32 assists.
The scores from the match with the Greyhounds were 25-19, 18-25, 11-25, 25-14, 13-15. Moravian made out with a close win at 3-2.
The victory over the Crusaders was a rougher match, lasting two hours and eight minutes. Sophomore Kelci Scannapieco and senior Holly Bubb led the Jays offensively, Scannapieco recording 11 kills and Bubb, 10. Clyne continued her assists from the last match, raking up 12 before first-year Steph High stepped in to get 28 more assists for the Jays.
The result of the length of the game was high dig numbers for Lukiewski, High and first-year Shannon Deck, with 38, 25 and 12 digs, respectively. The scores against the Crusaders were 25-23, 21-25, 26-24, 22-25, 15-11. The Jays won the match 3-2.
Senior Lindsay Palm knows that the team is more determined to win every game because of last year’s losing season. She said that Susquehanna always gives the team “A run for our money,” Lukiewski finished. “It’s nice to play competitive teams. And this year is a change: a change of attitude, a change of girls and a change of our work ethic.”
Palm stated, “If we stay focused and continue our work ethic, this season will really come together.”
“We’re still building to our peak,” Lukiewski said. “And it’s good that we haven’t reached our peak yet in the season.”
Their goal is to reach the Commonwealth Conference playoffs. “That’s really the first step,” Kreider said. “We would really like to see this team, our seniors, get there. They deserve that.”
The Jays just had a match at Etown on Wednesday against a Commonwealth Conference opponent, the Arcadia University Knights. “They’re an interesting team this year,” Kreider said.
This is Kreider’s 11th season as head coach, and the win against Susquehanna gives him 207 wins (need to change if they win the Arcadia game) in his career coaching the Jays. “It feels good,” Kreider admitted, “but it’s always been about the players. It’s nice to remember all the players who have contributed to those wins.”
Up next for the team is the Days Inn Blue Jay Classic Friday, Sept. 21 and Saturday, Sept. 22 at Etown. The women will take on the York College Spartans Friday at 3:30 p.m., the University of Rochester Yellowjackets 7:30 p.m. Friday, the Hamilton College Continentals 11:00 a.m. Saturday and the Bridgewater College Eagles 3:00 p.m. Saturday.