By Michael Mullen
This past weekend, Union hosted the Union Invitational Volleyball Tournament. The tournament included teams from SUNY Cortland, SUNY Brockport, Hartwick College, Oneonta College, Sage College, Skidmore and Utica College.
In the first games on Friday the Dutchwomen played SUNY Brockport and Utica College. Union kicked off the tournament strong, taking both games without losing a single set. Union’s firepower was too much for the Golden Eagles of Brockport. At one point the Dutchwomen went on a 14-1 run in the third set closing out any hope of a Brockport comeback. Union took down Utica in similar fashion, this time going on a 15-0 run in the first set and continuing through the entire game.
Day two of the tournament started off well. Hartwick College also had no answer for Union’s game plan and lost in straight sets. Senior Nora Wood, junior Casey Tepper and freshman Rachel Wyman led the offense. Unfortunately, the game against number nine ranked SUNY Cortland was not as successful. Cortland won in four sets, handing Union their third loss of the season.
“Everyone has always had high expectations, but I think everyone realizes that our goals are so close this year,” said Wood when asked about the team expectations this year. “We just played the number nine team, and, yeah, we lost, but everyone gave so much heart. I think our goal is to win the Liberty League championship.”
The best teams always seem to have a strong sense of camaraderie.
“This is my fourth year here and I think this is the best team dynamic that has been here. It doesn’t feel like there are any classes of people,” said Wood about this year’s team dynamic. “No freshman, no sophomores, no juniors, no seniors. It’s one team, as a whole. Just 15 individuals. We know when we have to work. We know when it’s time to have fun on the court.”
Union sits atop the Liberty League standings but has not played any Liberty League games as of this Thursday. Union realizes the Liberty League games are the most important games they will have this season.
“Definitely our Liberty League games,” replied Wood when asked about the games she’s looking forward to this season. “Those are the ones that matter for our conference and whether we win the conference or not.”
Union certainly seems up for the challenge of taking down the league this season and bringing home that illusive championship.