The women’s volleyball team dropped their first three games in University Athletic Association play this weekend, faltering their hopes to get their season on the right track. The Violets, who fell to 9-10 on the season and 0-3 in league play, were looking for a smooth transition from out of conference tournaments into in-conference play, but on Saturday they ran into nationally ranked juggernauts Washington University at St. Louis and University of Chicago.
NYU came into the game on a two game winning streak — tied for their longest winning streak of the season — and looked to be getting their season headed in the right direction. WashU, the second ranked team in the country by the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association poll, came into the game 15-1 and rolling. NYU came out strong, losing by a respectable 25-20 score in the first set. But they would go on to lose in straight sets as WashU settled into their groove and won the next two sets by comfortable 25-17 and 25-14 counts.
Though they took a hard loss, a pair of freshman shone as bright spots in defeat. Freshman outside hitter Shelby King racked up eight kills, assisted primarily by do-it-all freshman setter Daryl Mitchell, who tallied 23 assists, eight digs and four kills.
In their second game on Saturday, they put up more of a fight against Chicago. They took the 16th ranked team in the country to four sets, and made them work to finish the three that they lost. After dropping the first set by the same 25-20 count they lost to WashU, the Violets rallied and took the second set by the same count, avoiding a second straight-sets loss. They would lose the next two, however, by scores of 25-21 and 25-18. Sophomore Alexis Jackson was key in keeping the Violets engaged in that second game, as she totaled 11 kills to go along with one block. Though they could not manage a win in either game, the Violets still felt they took a lot away from competing against nationally recognized squads.
“It’s really disappointing going out like that as the last team to play in Coles until it’s back after construction,” Jackson said. “But we’re moving forward. We have a big week coming up soon with another round of UAA’s so we can’t dwell on the negatives.
On Sunday, their luck didn’t get any better. In a winnable game against the University of Rochester, who also came into the game having lost twice on Saturday, the Violets came out sluggish and took a brutal 25-10 defeat in the first set. They would rally to make each of the next two sets 25-17, but they still took another straight-sets loss in the contest. Senior outside hitter Nicole Frias notched six kills in her last home game as a Violet to tie for the team lead with King. No other Violet landed in double digits in any statistical category besides sophomore libero Brooke Tannahill, who notched 22 digs, and sophomore setter Elissa Davila-Shiau, who was able to pick up 14 assists.
The Violets will have to find a way to regroup from their tough weekend, as competition doesn’t get any easier this week. They will travel across the river to Hoboken, New Jersey on Wednesday to face rival Stevens Institute of Technology, who handed NYU two losses last season.
A version of this article appeared in the Oct. 5 print edition. Email Bobby Wagner at [email protected]