Once again, it was a blowout at Coles Sports Center, as NYU women’s volleyball defeated the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Mariners 25-23, 25-11, 25-13. The Violets’ victory continues their undefeated record against USMMA.
Last year, the Violets swept the Mariners in three sets, which may have caused NYU to have a slow start in their most recent matchup.
“We came into this match a little lax, thinking that we wouldn’t have to work as hard,” junior captain Hope Bogle said.
Despite this, the Violets began the match with a four-point lead, but their errors let the Mariners come back and keep it level all the way until the end. NYU controlled the tempo of the match with great serving, so USMMA had a tough time controlling the ball. Later, the Violets’ untimely blocking and miscommunication gave the Mariners more points.
The turning point of the set came after head coach Jolie Ward called a timeout when the Violets were down 22-20 and USSMA held service. After the one-minute cooldown, the Mariners missed the serve and senior captain Alexandria Mao responded with an ace that boosted NYU to win the first set.
“One of our biggest failures was coming out on the flat side,” Ward said. “We really didn’t come in wanting to claim the court.”
At the break, it looked like the team’s mindset had changed.
“We came back into the huddle and we said ‘We know we’re better than this, we need to play our game,’” unior right side Jenn Korte said.
This way of thinking immediately improved their play. The Violets started off serving well, attempting to get the Mariners’ primary hitter Cassandra Palma off her game.
“We were trying to have a very aggressive serving pattern, and that helped us to keep them out of system,” Ward said.
USMMA’s defense kept them afloat, but freshman middle blocker Nicole Frias and Korte eventually sank the Mariner’s ship. The duo crushed USMMA’s attack with strong blocking and powerful attacks.
“I’m really glad we were able to step up and not go down to their level,” said Korte.
The Violets found their rhythm, closing out the set by a 14-point margin.
The team really came together in the third set thanks to Bogle.
“Hope’s sets were very consistent,” said Korte, who benefited from her teammate’s pinpoint assists.
Sophomore Vera Shulgina and Mao were the “go-to” hitters in the last set. Bogle balanced out her team as Shulgina, Mao, Frias and Korte shared a total of 31 kills.
Coach Ward substituted other members of the team into the match to finish on a high note.
“I had a chance to see a lot of people from the roster out on the court and get some playing time,” Ward said.
The Violets closed out a quick match by running clean and effective offense.
NYU is hosting the annual Violet Classic this Friday and Saturday. Teams from five states will be represented in the weekend’s tournament. NYU will try to extend their home-game winning streak to three matches when they take on the Wesleyan University Cardinals Friday afternoon at 5 p.m.
A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Sept. 20 print edition. Nico Cantor is a contributing writer. Email him at [email protected]