By Elliot Pototsky – 1851 Contributor
Students filled the Athletic Center on Tuesday night as they cheered on the women’s volleyball team going up against a gritty Keene State College. It only took three sets for the Lasers to beat the Owls, raising their record to 4-5.
The Lasers got off to a hot start, winning the first six points of the game before Keene State head coach Bob Weiner called a timeout. They went on to dominate the rest of the set thanks to a strong defensive performance by sophomore middle blocker Juliana Medini and three kills by freshman middle blocker Morgan Bogli.
During the second set, the Owls were a completely different team. Thanks to multiple kills and an ace from senior outside hitter Sydney Johnson, the Lasers were forced into a longstanding battle until the very last point. To the rescue was sophomore outside hitters McKenna McCool and Emily VanHouten. Through incredible teamwork, the Lasers were able to defeat the Owls in the second set 27-25.
Entering the third set, Keene State had a sense of urgency. Catching the Lasers off-guard, the Owls took a commanding 8-3 lead. Unfortunately for Keene State, a timeout by Lasell’s head coach, Jeff Vautrin, led to a 10-3 Laser run. Weiner was forced to use a timeout of his own.
Although the Lasers could practically taste victory, junior middle blocker Veronica Kroha had other ideas. After two straight aces, the crowd had lost its fire and the momentum started favoring Keene State. Luckily for the Lasers, McCool picked up right where she left off in the second set and sparked a new type of energy for the Lasers.
With thirteen total kills for the night, McCool had one last surge in her to send the Owls flying home. Despite an intense final few points where Keene State played their hearts out, McCool’s fourteenth and final kill clinched the third set 25-23.
When asked about the game, McCool was quick to highlight the energy from all the fans. “It really helped the team get a bunch of points and runs,” she said.
The former GNAC all-rookie selection added that a major part of the team’s success came from the hitters. “They were hitting over at least .200,” McCool said.
As for the underclassmen, first-year setter Sydney Katz does not see any reason why she cannot help lead the team with what she brings to the table.
“Because I’m a setter, [my] job is to lead the team,” said Katz. I’m working on being loud, talking to my hitters, and trying to find my role on the team.”
More than anything, the captains have been motivating this young bunch to get better every day. “They’re really helpful when I get down on myself,” said Katz. “Everyone on the team is super positive.”
The Lasers will travel to Rochester, N.Y. to play in the St. John Fisher tournament from Friday, October 16th to Saturday, October 17th.
The team will be back home playing Fitchburg State in the Athletic Center on Tuesday, September 20th at 7:00 p.m.