Volleyball thrives in Buffalo

Andrew Ford, Sports Editor

After falling to the University of Mount Union on Wednesday, Sept. 12, the Spartans women’s volleyball team had a very successful weekend at the Buffalo State Bengal Challenge, winning all three matches it played.

Case Western Reserve University lost in three sets to regional rival Mount Union, whose offense was just too much to handle for CWRU in the match. All three sets were competitive, but the Spartans were unable to come out on top in any of the games.

Fourth-year defensive specialist Karina Bondelid attributed the loss to a lack of teamwork, something that CWRU has done well in most of their matches this year. They are successful when they are not relying on individuals but instead are balanced and trust each other.

“Teams are really up to play us,” Head Coach Karen Farrell said, “and if we don’t show up with our absolute best effort, we’re not going to have the results we’re going for.”

The trip to Buffalo was much more successful. Their first match was against Capital University. Ironically, the two Ohio schools had to travel to New York to face off against each other. The Spartans walked right over their adversary, winning easily in three sets.

Third-year setter Faith Ellis did a great job of setting up her teammates, registering 18 assists. Third-year outside hitter Karley King benefited from many of those sets, recording nine kills. Third-year middle hitter Haley Sims was great at the net on offense and defense with her seven kills and six total blocks.

The most tightly contested match of the weekend was against Geneva College. The Spartans dropped the first set, 25-23, but stormed back to win the next three thanks to a more efficient offense.

Second-year outside hitter Anna Jaskoviak led the team with 19 digs, while third-year outside hitter Brianna Lemon had a team-high 14 kills.

In the final game in Buffalo, CWRU dominated the host of the tournament, Buffalo State College, in three straight sets, 25-17, 25-9 and 25-11. In the final two sets, Buffalo State had more errors than kills.

It was a balanced offensive attack for the Spartans. King had six kills, Lemon and Sims had seven apiece and second-year middle hitter Katie Kaminski had eight.

“If we have energy and play our own game, we’ll succeed,” Ellis said about what the team took away from this weekend. “We can’t worry too much about the other teams. Focusing on our own play works best.”

Farrell also added that this tournament gave lots of players the opportunity to get out on the court, as well as build confidence for the team as a whole.

Ellis and Bondelid both stressed the fierce rivalry against Baldwin Wallace University. Bondelid said Baldwin Wallace is like a curse for the Spartans, while Ellis said this is one of the biggest games of the year. On Sept. 19, CWRU lost to Baldwin Wallace in three sets.

The team will travel to Heidelberg University for four games on Sept. 21 and 22. The first University Athletic Association round robin will begin on Sept. 29 at Brandeis University.