Winning 3-2, the Lady Barons volleyball team walked away victorious from a close home match on Tuesday, Sept. 3 against Chatham University.
The game was opened in prayer led by the president of Franciscan University of Steubenville, the Rev. Dave Pivonka, TOR, which was followed by the singing of the National Anthem. Head coach Kelly Hermann introduced Pivonka as a guest coach for the night’s game. She recalled his time as a basketball player for Franciscan. “The passion he played basketball with is the passion he has now,” she said.
The Cougars were quick to take the lead in the first set until sophomore middle hitter Caite O’Malley blocked a spike off the net, giving the Lady Barons the boost they needed to pull ahead. The teams continued neck and neck until sophomore defense Marykate Taylor finished it with a strong spike winning the set, 25-22.
The Lady Barons kept that fire going as they took the lead with some strong serves and spikes. The Cougars battled to take the lead but to no avail as they themselves gave Franciscan points due to spikes that were too deep or serves that were too short. The Lady Barons won the set 25-19.
Tired of constantly falling behind, the Cougars upped their game with strong, directed spikes that made saves harder to obtain. The teams became tied, 24-24, but by the end of the set, the Lady Barons made too many reception errors, giving the Cougars the win, 26-24.
The Lady Barons continued to struggle during the fourth set and to give the Cougars points from reception errors. Franciscan eventually came back with a few hard spikes which earned them a few points, but the Cougars eventually took them down, 25-13.
Fired up from the loss, Franciscan bounced back into the game, scoring the first five points of the last set. The Cougars tried to up their game, but the Lady Barons doubled their points with hard spikes and firm blocks. After Franciscan reached eight points and the teams switched sides, Franciscan proceeded to crush the Cougars, winning both the set, 15-9, and the overall match.
While pleased with the win, Hermann mentioned the difficulty of the match. “We made this match harder than it needed to be. … We really came out very aggressive … and then we just got a little distracted,” she said, “(But) our girls stayed very positive. They help each other. They won’t get down.”
The Lady Barons’ next home game will be at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 5 against Waynesburg University.