At the beginning of the week, it looked like the Williams womens’ volleyball team had finally broken out of its slow start and would make a strong run toward an NCAA bid. It swept its first three games of the week. But then Saturday rolled around, with the Ephs having to face Division II St. Anselm’s and regional nemesis MIT. It would turn out that their stellar performances earlier in the week would not translate into victory in either game on Saturday, as Williams lost 3-0 to St. Anselm’s and 3-1 to MIT to finish third in their home invitational. The team’s record now stands at 11-8.
Saturday’s 11 a.m. match against MIT was among the Ephs’ most important of the year. MIT, at #4 in the region, was ranked one place higher than the Ephs #5. This weekend’s match was an important one not only in terms of moving up in the rankings regionally, but also avenging last week’s tough five-game loss to Tech. In the early going, everything seemed to be going MIT’s way. Tech got out to an 8-0 lead over Williams and it looked as though it would easily cruise in the first game. But the Ephs, not ready to be embarrassed on their homecourt, fought back and eventually tied the game at 11. MIT, though, took control of the game once again and won 15-12. MIT’s run continued in the second game as it beat Williams 15-9. Williams was not ready to give up in the third, though, and won a tough game with Tech 16-14. The team built off its momentum in the fourth and took an early lead against MIT. But, just at Williams had done in the first game, MIT came back and tie up the game at 11. Unfortunately for the Ephs, MIT would complete the comeback by scoring four unanswered points to win the game 15-11 and take the match 3-1. MIT would defeat St. Anselm’s that afternoon to finish first in the tournament.
The loss to Williams was preceded by a defeat from the hands of Division II St. Anselm’s. The Hawks really had no problem defeating the Ephs, taking Williams in three, 15-4, 15-5, 15-5.
The losses on Saturday were frustrating for the Ephs after their two sweeps of Roger Williams (15-6 15-1 15-6) and RIC (15-7 15-2 15-4) on Friday and their sweep at St. Joseph’s on Wednesday. The Ephs had been hoping to win their home tournament, but were unable to perform as well as hoped on Saturday.
“I think the entire team was a little disappointed with this weekend,” said Carolyn Ryan ’01. “We played some weaker teams on Friday night so we had trouble getting going against the tougher teams on Saturday morning. We had all the desire we needed to win but we were a step behind on the court.”
The team is hoping that things will finally turn around for the team this weekend when they will be facing a lot of NESCAC teams. The team’s record against NESCAC opponents and its performances against NESCAC teams at the conference tournament in November will in large part determine if it can make it to the NCAA Tournament.
“We are working hard in practice and we have team meetings, often, in attempts to figure out why we aren’t winning the close games that we should really be winning,” said Shekinah Cohn ’01.“All I know is that we should have won the games we lost this weekend.”
The weekend did have some positive points. Coach Bobby Mosca was pleased with some of the team’s individual performances, most notably from captain Katie Ford ’00 and Carmel Lyons ’03. Ryan felt the team was successful with its substitutions and got good serving performances out of captian Cordy Ransom ’00 and Michelle Kron ’03.
But this weekend’s overall lesson was clear to all.
Said Cohn, “The most positive lesson from this weekend is that we aren’t getting it done and somehow we need to take it really seriously to fix it.”