The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Volleyball goes 1-2 at Bryant Invitational, Gibson selected to All-Tournament team

Senior middle blocker Gracie Gibson brings her teammates in for a huddle. (Photo courtesy of GoLeopards)

The volleyball team commenced its 2023 season at the Bryant Invitational last week, playing three separate matches in the span of two days. The team’s victory marked its first win under new coach Christian Kiselica.

The opening match saw the Leopards face off against Northeastern on Friday, narrowly falling to the Huskies in five sets (25-22, 13-25, 25-21, 12-25, 10-15). 

Senior middle blocker Gracie Gibson and junior outside hitter Abby Nieporte combined for 27 kills during the match. First-year setter Anna Van Wyk was a standout on defense, accumulating 12 digs. This enabled the team to stretch the match to five sets, but their efforts couldn’t deter the Huskies — the Leopards ultimately came up just short, losing 15-10 in the final set. Gibson’s performance throughout the tournament earned her a spot on the seven-woman all-tournament team. 

“I swear every single time I watched [Gibson] swing, she scored,” junior middle blocker Natasha Zorbas said. “She had such a great three games in a row and was a very reliable player to go to especially when the score was close. She also worked so hard in closing the blocks and transitioning quickly to be set up again, so she definitely was a key part in our success over the weekend.”

“I think the whole team can agree that the first three games went really well,” Zorbas said. “Coach Christian and Coach Dan were both so encouraging and supportive throughout all the games and definitely showed energy and passion on the sidelines, which I noticed really fueled everyone on the court. I could see such a difference in our energy and effort on the court as well as our bench culture as from previous years which is a big thanks to the coaches.”

Saturday allowed the Leopards to bounce back from their first loss of the season, with two matches slated against Siena and Bryant. The team started off strong by beating Siena 25-9 in the first set. Once again, Gibson shined, making eight kills and finishing with a hitting accuracy of 0.538.

The Saints came back strong in the second set, winning 25-12. However, the Leopards replied quickly, wrapping up the match by winning the following two sets 25-10 and 25-22, respectively. 

Match two of the Saturday fixtures saw the team face off against Bryant, the home team of the tournament. Van Wyk was once again a standout, this time providing her teammates with 10 assists throughout the three sets. 

Junior Marcus Voss, who attends Bryant, said, “The Bryant student section was pretty loud, but that didn’t seem to faze Lafayette. I was pretty entertained and thought the game was cool to watch.” He added that “Lafayette [was] very happy after every point they got, celebrating and doing their huddle thing. I think it showed they were a tight group.”

Despite the fierce efforts from the Leopards, they would lose in straight sets, seeing the Bulldogs hitting 0.253 collectively throughout the match. 

“It was so fun watching [Van Wyk] play this weekend,” Zorbas said. “Running a 5-1 at times, Anna was at the net getting blocks, throwing her body on the line to pick up tips, and running every ball down to set the hitters, and you would have never known it was her first time playing in a collegiate game.” 

From both the bystanders’ and the players’ perspectives, the Leopards showed glimpses of promise throughout all three games. “To be honest, both [Bryant] and Lafayette played like it was a final, so I think they’ll do well in their next games,” Voss said. 

Zorbas touched on the feeling amongst the team, saying, “[We are] definitely excited. After our first game against Northeastern, we all sat in the locker room afterwards talking about how excited we were for the season starting, and for us to play as well as we did in only the first game set a really high standard for our upcoming matches.”

The team will travel to the University of Pennsylvania today where they will face Duquesne. The Leopards will then continue their matches tomorrow against Coppin State and UPenn. 

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

If you wish for your response to an article to be submitted as a letter to the editor, please email [email protected].
All Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *