The volleyball team continued to struggle on Wednesday, Sept. 25, losing 1-3 to in-state opponents Western Connecticut State (22-25, 18-25, 25-19, 26-28). The loss marked the team’s fourth in as many games.
There were long stretches, especially in the first two sets, during which the Cardinals struggled to score at all.
“We didn’t really have a diverse offense,” said Captain Monica Leslie ’14. “It made it easier for [Western Connecticut] to predict.”
The team started slow, dropping the first two sets, during which the momentum was decidedly one-sided in Western Connecticut’s favor. Even with 18 kills and three aces from captain Kim Farris ’14, the Cardinals were not able to recover.
“We waited to start playing,” Farris said. “We weren’t playing as well as we could during the first set, and we sort of dug ourselves into a hole.”
However, with the strength of the play of Farris and fellow captain Kate Centofanti ’14, who had 14 kills, 7 digs, and 3 blocking assists, the Cardinals fought back. They took the third set 25-19 and, after trailing 11-3 to begin the fourth set, pushed it to a 26-26 tie. The comeback, in the end, was not quite enough, as the Cardinals proved unable to handle a serve from Western Connecticut junior Nina Wojtkiewicz. Western Connecticut put the Cardinals away 28-26 in the fourth to end the match.
The Cardinals had trouble on serves throughout the match, committing 13 serve errors to Western Connecticut’s seven. This often nipped in the bud any momentum that the Cardinals managed to gain.
“We started coming back, but we started playing too late,” Farris said.
To add insult to injury, the small but vocal crowd at Silloway Gym seemed to erupt with cheers at the final ace. Throughout the match, Western Connecticut fans provided a more vocal presence than Wesleyan fans did.
“West Conn is an in-state school, so there are a lot of girls that are from Connecticut, so family will come and watch them wherever they’re playing in-state,” Farris said. “It is tough when everyone is cheering against you.”
The defeat comes straight on the heels of a pair of 0-3 losses last Saturday to Rogers Williams University and NESCAC rival Tufts. In these matches, offensive leadership was similarly offered by Centofanti and Farris; the latter leads the conference in kills per set. Centofanti and Farris have received defensive support from Rachel Savage ’17, who ranks fifth in the conference in digs per set.
This losing streak drops Wesleyan to 2-8. That gives the Cardinals the second-worst overall record in the conference, which makes things tough on them as they continue their season.
“The long-term goal this season is going to NESCACs,” Leslie said. “We want to start winning games that we can win.”
In spite of the tough road ahead, however, the team firmly believes the year can be salvaged. Farris maintains a careful sense of optimism looking ahead to Friday, Sept. 27 when the Cardinals will take on NESCAC rival Trinity.
“Normally, Friday nights we get a good crowd,” Farris said. “It’s gonna be a really good game.”