Spartan women shine in home tournament

Volleyball goes 4-1 in strong second week of season

Jacob Martin, Opinion Editor

Case Western Reserve University co-hosted the 2014 Marcia French Memorial Volleyball Invitational at Horsburgh Gymnasium with Baldwin Wallace University last Friday, Sept. 5, and Saturday, Sept. 6. The Spartans decimated the opposition going 4-0 in the tournament.

On Friday, Case won 25-21, 25-15 and 25-17 against the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. After losing the first set against Muskingum University 25-19, they rallied for wins of 25-12, 25-15 and 25-13. On Saturday, the Spartans swept both Westminster College and Capital University 25-11, 25-23 and 25-22 against the former and 26-24, 25-16 and 25-20 in the latter match.

Friday’s highlights were impressive in each match. In the Pitt-Bradford contest, junior Robyn Marks led setters offensively with 16 assists, while sophomore libero Kristen Mitchell led defensively with 19 digs. In the Muskingum bout, sophomore hitters Marian Barton and Kayla Plaff spearheaded the Spartans’ performance with nine kills and five block assists each, while Marks recorded 17 digs.

Saturday’s highlights were just as impressive. Against Westminster, juniors Katie Best and Marks led offense with 10 kills and 15 sets respectively. Junior middle hitter Haley Kauffman led the attack with 12 kills, while Mitchell again led defense with 14 digs.

Despite going undefeated, nearby John Carroll University also went undefeated but maintained a perfect 12-0 in sets to win the tournament. But Best earned an all-tournament nod with a total of 27 kills and 31 digs.

It was the fourth consecutive season Case and Baldwin Wallace have sponsored the Invitational together, and the Spartan volleyball team arrived with power and grace. While their undefeated performance was just short of total victory, they established an early record of 6-2.

Wednesday’s contest against No. 8 Mount Union was a harsh return to the loss column as the Spartans dropped three straight matches by scores of 25-17, 25-15 and 25-15. Plaff lead the offense with four kills but four other Spartans had three kills apiece. Defensively Mitchell slowed the bleeding with an outstanding 21 digs.

The Spartans will return to the court on Friday, Sept. 12 against Kenyon College as part of the John Carroll Invitational and then play Mount St. Joseph University in the second game of the tournament on Saturday afternoon.