After dropping the first four matches of the season, the volleyball team was able to secure its first two wins of 2013 at the Trinity College Invitational this past weekend. After a winless run at the Brandeis Invitational, the Cardinals looked onward to Trinity, where they registered three quality victories in 2012.
The Cardinals got off to an unlucky start on Friday the 13th as the team was dealt its fourth consecutive loss at the hands of Eastern Connecticut. Even more disheartening for the Cards was that they were still unable to win their first set of the season, falling 3-0 to their intrastate foe. However, the team showed great resolve and made the necessary tactical adjustments to sweep their Saturday opponents, Clark University and Worcester State.
Saturday’s opening matchup against Clark marked the first meeting between the two squads since 2011, when Clark upended Wes 3-1. After dropping the first set 21-25 the Cardinal and Black roared back to win three straight sets to notch the season’s first victory.
Coming off of an All-Tournament performance at Brandeis, captain Kate Centofanti ’14 followed with a dominant showing against Clark. The outside hitter combined with fellow captain Kim Farris ’14 to account for 43 of Wesleyan’s 67 kills. Centofanti and Farris outdid the entire Clark squad themselves in that regard, as the losing squad amassed just 39 kills in the contest.
The final set of the match proved to be especially thrilling, as Clark mounted a comeback from 6 points down to even the contest at 24-24. After digging out a hard-fought point to leap ahead, Farris buried the match with her final kill of the contest to seal the deal for Wesleyan’s first win.
The Cardinals built off of the momentum from the morning matchup to throttle Worcester State in straight sets in their first-ever meeting. Farris led the way yet again with 20 kills and just a single error, while Claire Larson ’15 was a steady setter en route to 37 assists against Worcester. With a breezy 25-17, 25-14, 25-17 win, the Cardinals ended the weekend’s festivities on a positive note.
Farris noted that the team’s tremendous composure was the key to turning around the season on Saturday.
“I think that one of our strengths during the two matches on Saturday was consistency,” Farris said. “I felt like we never had a moment where we weren’t working our hardest to earn the next point. We were trying out a new rotation where we had a different pattern of passers and substitutions, so we are still working out the kinks of that, but offensively we really worked on placing the ball where the other team would have trouble rather than what was easiest for us.”
Being assertive and maintaining control of their matches will make or break the Cardinals as they embark on their first NESCAC contests of the season this weekend, facing both Conn College and Tufts on the road.
In an email to The Argus, veteran coach Gale Lackey commented that Saturday’s results further confirmed that her squad will be tough competitors in the ’CAC this season.
“After not playing near our potential on Friday evening the team made an impressive turnaround on Saturday with two straight set wins,” Lackey wrote. “We also displayed tough serving and consistent serve receive play. I was extremely pleased with the intensity and confidence on Saturday and believe we can carry this level of play into our first conference weekend.”
Farris concludes that Saturday’s play may mark a change for Cardinal volleyball, which sports a 2-4 record.
“I think that if we keep building off of how we were playing this weekend, we will have a much more successful season compared to previous years,” Farris said.
The Cardinals will resume play on Friday, Sept. 20 at Conn College; they will not return to Silloway Gymnasium until Western Connecticut visits on Wednesday, Sept. 25.