Spartan Volleyball looks to break even

Katie Wieser, Sports Editor

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The Case Western volleyball team competes in their last non-conference match versus Wooster College this Saturday at the Veale Center. The squad looks to improve on their 14-15 record to break even before competing in the conference championship on Nov. 8 and 9.

The Spartans wrapped up their preliminary play with Round Robin #2 during fall break. The team was able to split the matches over the weekend and ended sixth in the UAA rankings ahead of the University of Rochester and Brandeis University.

The team performed especially well in straight-set wins versus the two lower-ranked schools, but also showed signs of promise in a competitive match versus No. 2 Chicago University. Despite not winning a set in the match, the Spartans lost each by a margin of less than 10 points, the first and second sets being won by the minimum of two points each.

The team was mostly healthy for the tournament and benefited from excellent play by starters including Carolyn Bogart with 32 kills and 38 digs, Katie Best with 64 digs and Robyn Marks with 77 assists and 28 digs over the course of the tournament.

Coach Karen Farrell was pleased with the level of play demonstrated in this second conference tournament. “We definitely played significantly better in the second Round Robin,” Farrell said. “We’re showing a lot of improvement over the weeks, we just have to minimize the mistakes.”

Farrell is referring to several instances over the course of recent matches that revealed the Spartans’ tendency to fall into large scoring deficits during a set, making it difficult to recover, despite strong play. This is an aspect that contributed to the lack of consistency in the team’s playing.

Last weekend, the Spartans continued to show signs of success with a split record coming out of the non-conference tournament at Allegheny College. The team lost their match on Friday evening versus Wittenberg College, winning one set of the four against the conference champion. The successful set for the team featured aggressive play, with few points coming off of errors.

The team used that momentum in the second day of the tournament, out-playing the Allegheny home team with confidence and winning in straight sets.
Farrell is optimistic regarding the team’s chances to obtain a .500 season record before the UAA Championship. Wooster College is a good matchup for the Spartan squad as they finish their regular season here at home. The home crowd may give the team the confidence and energy they need to go into next week playing their best volleyball.

The team will have to face off against four-seeded Emory University in the first elimination round. In order to improve their sixth-place ranking, the Spartans will have to win at least two matches during the tournament.