The Case Western Reserve University women’s volleyball team’s rough stretch continued this past weekend.
In the first UAA matches of the season, the Spartans fell to Washington University in St. Louis (WashU), University of Chicago and New York University (NYU).
CWRU faced the first two teams on Saturday, Sep. 21 in Waltham, Massachusetts at Brandeis University. Against WashU, the Spartans lost in straight sets. Offensively, third-year middle hitter Katie Kaminski paced the team with nine kills. First-year right side hitter Gianna Lambert added six kills on only 11 attempts. CWRU struggled to play the ball in system while WashU consistently earned plenty of hitting opportunities—22 more than the Spartans, in fact.
The match against Chicago was much of the same. Chicago entered the match ranked No. 6 in the country, so the team knew this game especially would be an uphill battle. Once again, CWRU just could not muster enough offensive attacks to keep up with their opponent. Kaminski and Lambert again led the team in kills. Kaminski also had five block assists. Fourth-year outside hitter Brianna Lemon contributed six kills and a team-high 14 digs.
The final game of the weekend took place the next day, but the Spartans couldn’t secure a victory over NYU. CWRU and NYU split the first two sets, but NYU ran away with the match in the next two sets. It was a struggle for offensive efficiency in this game. CWRU attacked 164 times, but only 43 of those resulted in kills and had 27 errors. Kaminski again had a solid game, this time recording a team-high 13 kills. Fourth-year setter Faith Ellis added 18 assists.
In recent games, the Spartans have been without one of their key defensive players due to injury: third-year libero Anna Jaskoviak. Still, there is talent on the roster, and Head Coach Karen Farrell hopes that the tide can change soon.
“We still have half of the competitive season left to turn things around and play at a high level,” Farrell said. “We have two weeks of practice ahead with only one match, so we can really focus on individual improvement at this point in the season.”
Farrell also praised some individual performances. She said Kaminski has not only been the team’s most effective offensive attacker but has even developed as a contributor in the back row on defense. Additionally, Lemon has anchored the defense this season.
The Spartans will return to action on Saturday, Sept. 28 against Oberlin College.