Inside the Panzer Athletic Center on Saturday, the Montclair State University women’s volleyball team awaited a matchup against the Kenyon College Ladies, while hosting an eager crowd.
Prior to the game, Montclair State was 10 games over .500 with a 15-5 record and Kenyon had only won five games all season. The Red Hawks knew that they had to use their speed and strength to their advantage in order to propel them to victory.
“We want to start on the right foot and play really well early on in order to win,” Eddie Stawinski, Montclair State women’s volleyball head coach, said.
The Red Hawks were able to do just that. They used their front line with sophomore outside hitters Leah Higgins and Carly Waterman in order to accumulate points for the Red Hawks. This resulted in a collapse of an already fatigued Kenyon defense. Tips and deflections atop the net by senior middle blocker Caitlin Lange helped to bury the attempts of the Ladies in the first set, which Montclair State won 25-18, despite a late comeback by Kenyon.
In the second set, Montclair State once again started off dominant with their front line coming together and blocking shots over the top of the shorter and slower defense of Kenyon College. Although the Ladies were able to gain a bit of momentum, Montclair State managed to fend off the onslaught of front play by Kenyon. The Red Hawks took the second set 25-21 and stood one win away from a well earned victory.
Kenyon College fought hard to get back into the game, taking the third set 25-16 and cutting the Red Hawks’ lead to 2-1.
Realizing that there would be no need to panic, the Red Hawks kept their composure.
“We just needed to keep what our game plan was,” Stawinski said.
The Red Hawks executed their plan; with the resilience and strength of the team, Montclair State was able to bury the disappointment of the third set. With help again from Herbert, Waterman and O’Rourke, the team took the final set 28-26. Higgins scored the game winning point while capitalizing on a Kenyon player’s mistake. With the win, the Red Hawks raised their 2019 season record to 16-5.
If the Red Hawks continue to succeed, they will be in a great position to bring home more hardware at the end of this illustrious season.