Volleyball kicks off season with home tournament

Becky Chambers, Contributing Writer

The Bison stormed the volleyball court Aug. 26-27 during their season-opening tournament amid a crowd of family, friends, and students. The team played against Fairleigh Dickinson, Canisius, and East Carolina and started off the season with a 1-2 record.

Play began against Fairleigh Dickinson, with the Bison dominating the match 3-0. The match started out strong with a 25-20 outcome and continued that way with the next two sets going 25-17 and 25-22, all in favor of the Bison. The young volleyball team started with three first-year athletes on the court who played well over the course of the tournament. Hailey Stout ’18 came away with 10 kills throughout the three sets, followed closely by Sophie Bullard ’20 with seven and Mimi Richards ’20 with six. Stout also tallied eight digs and had a team-best .292 hitting percentage. After taking her junior season off due to injury, Kristen Parks ’17 returned to the court playing well, racking up 13 digs.

The Bison were back in action on Aug. 27 against Canisius. The match was very close through all five sets with Canisius winning the first two sets 29-27 and 25-21. The Bison were able to make a comeback for the next two with 22-25, 21-25, but Canisius managed to gain the upper hand in the final set, winning 15-13. Blake Buchholz ’19, Bridgette Holland ’20, and Stout each recorded 13 kills and Parks had 26 digs throughout the fast-paced match.

The team took the court for their last game against the strong East Carolina who went 3-0 against both Fairleigh Dickinson and Canisius. The Bison took to the court and showed much skill and perseverance, winning the set 25-27. The East Carolina Pirates then won the next four sets 25-20, 25-9 and 25-21. Holland had 13 kills again with Buchholz, Stout, and Bullard all with eight. Stout also had 11 digs over the course of the game. Richards played well the entire tournament and was named to the All-Tournament Team after a total of 12 kills, 16 blocks and a .361 hitting percentage.

“This weekend was a great opportunity to see where we stand as a team,” Parks said. “We played some tough teams, but now we know what we need to work on before Patriot League starts. This was our first time competing against an opponent this season, and I think we are off to a successful start. As we are getting prepared for our first Patriot League match, we will have a few more opportunities to play solid teams, and we are looking forward to the challenge as a chance to grow and get better.”

Rebecca Forbes ’17, also one of the few seniors on the team, echoed Parks’ sentiments.

“I think this weekend was a great opportunity for us to grow as a team and it was our first chance to see where we were in comparison to other teams and which skills we need to work on,” Forbes said. “Now that we have a clear picture of what we need to do, we have set goals for ourselves and we are going to use this coming week to prepare for our next matches.”

With these goals in mind, the Bison will return on Sept. 2-3 at the Duquesne/Robert Morris Invitational.

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