Volleyball notches first PL win

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Jessica Deutsch

Sophomore Kelly Flynn spikes the ball against Loyola.

Photos by Austin Ducker ‘17

Volleyball had its first Patriot League win against Loyola this past weekend. The pieces are finally coming together for the Leopards, who struggled with their last two league games, losing to Navy and Lehigh. Loyola won the first set but Lafayette came back to win the next three, securing their victory. The teams matched up well with similar styles but the Leopards executed what they needed to do well.

According to head coach Teri Campbell, the game plan for the match was to block Loyola’s outside hitters and improve the team’s serving game. This past game, Lafayette had 13 aces with minimal serving errors thanks to four standout offensive players: sophomore Jet Manzi, junior co-captain Lauren Pisauro, senior Danielle Towslee and freshman Tori Smith.

“Serving is such a mental skill, you have to make sure your mind is focused and clear of any distractions. It’s such a crucial part of Volleyball because it’s the only thing you have full control of,” said Manzi. “A good serve can get a team out of system and ultimately earn you a point.”

The team was overall mentally tougher this past weekend, especially during critical points where momentum was needed. The Leopards have played many games where they’ve fought hard until the end and then just couldn’t finish, but this weekend they found a way to put the ball away when it mattered.

With all of their setters injured, the team has been attempting to train new personnel for the job. Being a setter is something you learn from a young age, learning it at a division one level is extremely difficult. Junior Bri Giangiobbe and freshman Tori Smith are doing an exceptional job accepting the challenge. This weekend the team ran a 6-2 rotation, allowing for two setters.

“This gave Tori the chance to swing a little, which is where she feels most comfortable on the court,” says Coach Campbell. “This allowed her to play her game a little more because we’re asking her to do a lot out of position. It was nice to see her be able to play her position while helping us out occasionally.”

A key for Lafayette this weekend was balance, having good hitting, serving and blocking. What makes a volleyball team successful is everyone contributing and understanding their roles and what is needed from each person.

Sophomore Jet Manzi echoes this opinion, stating, “We have to continue being disciplined in everything we do. If everyone does their job it will make everything that much easier.”

The team’s next Patriot League game is against Bucknell, who they typically split with every year. It should be a tough match but Coach Campbell thinks if the team continues to work on their strengths and weaknesses they should be on the right track.