By Meghan Creane
Making it to post-season play is something every team hopes to accomplish. It comes as a result of grueling conditioning, long practices and commitment to defeating opponents.
This past weekend the Union Volleyball team achieved that goal by defeating Rochester Institute of Technology on Friday and splitting Saturday’s matches. They defeated Saint Lawrence University, bringing them to an eight-game winning streak, before falling to Clarkson.
Captains Raj Dhaliwal ‘15 and Marissa Vollmer ‘14 are both ecstatic about the results of the weekend.
As Dhaliwal notes, “This weekend’s wins were huge for us because we clinched the second seed in our league, which means we’ll be advancing on to the Liberty League tournament, so the entire team is very happy about that.”
The Dutchwomen swept RIT in three sets this past Friday on the Tigers’ home court. The first two sets of the match were won easily by Union, defeating RIT 25-18 and 25-15.
Outside hitter Rachel Wyman ‘16 stood out offensively with her team leading seven kills.
Such a performance is now expected from Wyman, who has preformed admirably all season for the Dutchwomen. Amanda Price ‘17 also had a major offensive impact with 15 assists.
Friday’s third set proved itself to be a greater challenge than the previous two for the Dutchwomen, who then had to rely on the defensive prowess of Volmer.
As defensive specialist, Vollmer came through with 22 kills and three service aces. The strong closing performance of the Dutchwomen proved to be enough to hold off the Tigers 25-22 and earn them the win in 3 straight sets.
The win subsequently knocked RIT out of the tournament, which Vollmer adds “is a major accomplishment.” This brought them to a seven-game winning streak with two important matches lined up for Saturday.
Although the Dutchwomen split the weekend, the spotlight fell on the match against the Saints.
The win was unprecedented as they started the match down two sets to the Saints who started strong beating the Dutchwomen 26-24 and 25-19.
However, the third set marked a turning point for Union. Led by stellar performances by Wyman and Dhaliwal who each had 13 kills on the attack, the Dutchwomen swept the final three sets, 26-24, 25-16 and 15-7.
Given the closeness of the contest, defense was also crucial for the Dutchwomen. Price and Vollmer once again displayed aggression and skill. Middle hitters Morgan Clark ‘17 and Lauren Woods ‘16 each had three solo blocks, which ensured the victory for the Dutchwomen.
Dhaliwal credits the success of the team with their “amazing chemistry both on and off the court. We all really gel with one another and regardless of which six people are on the court, we play with the same consistency.”
Later that afternoon, the Dutchwomen’s winning streak came to an end with their loss in three straight sets to Clarkson.
The Golden Knights are the current leaders of the Liberty League and look forward to post-season play as well.
Despite the loss, Wyman and Vollmer once again led the team in their respective positions and showed their heart and focus under pressure.
The two wins from the weekend not only moved the Dutchwomen into league play but also rank them the second seed in the Liberty League, something Dhaliwal considers to be her personal highlight of the season.
“It’s been many years since Union Volleyball has advanced to the tournament, definitely before any of the current members attended school here so it’s a really great feeling to be a part of this team,” Dhaliwal said.
Vollmer said it best with her hopes for the rest of the season to “really show everyone what we’re capable of.”