Spartan volleyball finishes third at French Memorial

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James Hale

Alexandra Drake records one of her 24 digs on the season.

Peter Cooke, Sports Editor

The Case Western Reserve University’s volleyball team notched a third place finish in the Marcia French Memorial Tournament. Led by middle hitter Tricia McCutchan, the Spartans finished the weekend with a 3-1 record. The Spartan’s sole lost came against regionally ranked Mount Union College.

The French Memorial Tournament served as a test to see where the Spartans are as they head into the midseason. While the Spartans’ 5-3 record is a game worse than it was last semester, the level of competition the team has played is substantially better.

“This year’s squad is playing at a much higher competitive level compared to where we were at in September last year. We’ve played every team tough, despite losing a few matches,” said head coach Karen Farrell.

CWRU started their weekend out slowly, narrowly winning their first set against Oberlin College. With the butterflies out of the Spartans stomachs, the team regrouped and kept their composure, winning the match 26-24, 25-10, and 25-16.

Junior Tricia McCutchan led the team against Oberlin with 14 kills, finishing the weekend with 75 kills and nine blocks. McCutchan was named to the All-Tournament team and was name the University Athletic Association Co-Player of the Week.

After opening Friday afternoon with a win, the Spartans met the toughest foe of their young season. Facing Mount Union, the Spartans again got off to a slow start, dropping their first two sets. Helping to prevent the sweep was setter Breana Freeman who led the team with 34 assists and 16 digs.

The Spartans were able to steal a set from the Purple Raiders, but a two game hole was too much to dig out of. The Purple Raiders would go on to a 4-0 record, tying Baldwin-Wallace College for first place. The Raiders would take home the title due to a tiebreaker in total sets lost.

The final day of the tournament matched the Spartans against nearby rival John Carroll University and the College of Wooster. A pair of sophomores led the Spartans staunch defense against the Blue Streaks, as Rachel Gulasey and Kara Monnin tallied 17 and 15 digs respectively. McCutchan would add five aces as the Spartans won in four sets, 25-21, 21-25, 25-16 and 25-18.

The Spartans would sweep the Scots as Freeman tallied her weekend high 42 assists in just three sets. The Spartans won 25-19, 25-22 and 26-24; but they would fall behind by ten points in the third game before rallying to win the match.

The Spartans played the tournament’s second place team and co-host on Wednesday. Farrell was confident before the game, “Despite Baldwin-Wallace’s early season record, I feel our team is stronger and has more experienced players. Our team has the talent to win a lot of matches this week was long as we work hard and stay focused.”

The Spartans TK

CWRU will travel to Carnegie Mellon University this weekend for the CMU crossover tournament where they’ll place teams from across the Midwest and east coast.