Volleyball fights hard in competitive Juniata Invitational

BY MARK ROSSMAN ’14
Sports Editor

The women’s volleyball team seems to always be on the court, playing in 17 matches thus far this season. This week was especially busy for the team, who competed in the Juniata Invitational in Huntingdon, Pa. Friday and Saturday. Here, the team got the opportunity to face strong teams in non-conference play. The team took down Farleigh Dickinson University-Florham, while being defeated by Carnegie Mellon University, Juniata College, and Salisbury University, some of which were very close matches.

The Dips started off the tournament with a bang, competing against FDU-Florham. The team took down FDU-Florham, sweeping them 3-0 in sets. It was during the match against Carnegie Mellon, however, that things began to get more difficult. The first set was especially nerve wracking for the team, falling to Carnegie Mellon 25-23 in a set that really could have gone to either team. The second set unfortunately had the same end as the first, 25-17, and the third set ended at 25-20. Although the team ended the match 3-0, all three sets, regardless, were extremely close.

In the Salisbury match, the team lost 3-0 in three straight sets. Salisbury is particularly strong in the sport, ranked 23 in the nation. In the Juniata match, however, the team definitely proved themselves. The Dips took the first set in a close battle, 27-25. In the second set, unfortunately, the team got taken down by Juniata, 25-18, making it 1-1 in sets. The third set was equally as exciting, however unfortunately more exciting for Juniata, with a 25-17 win for Juniata.

This season the team is undefeated 1-0 in conference play after defeating McDaniel College Wednesday. F&M easily took McDaniel, defeating them three straight sets, 3-0. The team has defeated some solid teams earlier this season, including Elizabethtown College, Susquehanna University, and Penn State-Berks.

Head coach Mary Kate Boland ’01 has been with the team since 2003, making this her ninth season as head coach of the team, and fifteenth season wearing an F&M uniform. Boland played all four years of her academic career, ending with a 120-32 record, an F&M all-time record. Boland also served as assistant coach her two years immediately after graduating, from 2001-2003.

The team is also led by assistant coaches Steve Coulson and Chris Salko. Coulson coached the team for nine years as head coach and now nine more as assistant, making him very familiar with both the sport and the College.

The team is a mixed team among classes, with six freshmen, two sophomores, four juniors, and seven seniors. The team will be losing Caitlin Krutsick ’13, Kerry Rom ’13, Heather Letzkus ’13, Jian Lipowcan ’13, Candice Tussing ’13, Sydney Seydel ’13, and Elise Gilchrist ’13. After losing seven, the team will have 12 returning players next year.

As for this year, the team will be back in conference play against Swarthmore College at home at Mayser Gymnasium, 7 p.m. Wednesday. Next Saturday, the team will be back at it against Bryn Mawr College, another conference competition, at 1 p.m. The team still has some of its biggest competition coming up in October, with seven more conference competitors, including Dickinson College and Gettysburg College.

Questions? Email Mark at mrossman@fandm.edu.

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