By Julia Swain
When Friday night’s match began, Cedarville already had a loss on the day against Seton Hill University and was 2-3 on the season overall. Struggles continued for the Lady Yellow Jackets as they dropped 3 of 4 sets to fall to West Liberty and drop to 2-4 on the year.
The crucial part of the match came in the fourth set, which was a struggle for the Lady Yellow Jackets due to a lack of communication on the floor and difficulty passing effectively. This allowed the Hilltoppers to take advantage and ultimately win the match.
“I think probably the biggest thing is we were low air,” said Greg Smith, head coach of the Cedarville volleyball team. “That’s what happened in the third set. We were passing really well off the serve. That force broke down. I mean, we were out of the system almost the whole [fourth] set.”
While the first set was more lopsided at 25-19 West Liberty, both the second and third sets were tighter at 28-26 West Liberty and 25-20 Cedarville, which ultimately became the Lady Yellow Jackets’ only win of the match.
Although the team overall had a rough game, senior Riley Hensley provided a silver lining, leading the team in kills and finishing third in blocks and assists.
“Riley’s always been solid, [and] for the past three years, she’s been a great asset to the right side and a go-to person,” Smith said. “She’s doing a really good job.”
Other players that made a large impact included freshman Cam Davenport, who led the team in aces and was second in digs, and senior Mallory Delamarter, who led the team in digs and was second in aces.
One noticeable factor in Cedarville’s loss was the heart and effort that the team displayed. The team has six freshmen on the roster and just three seniors, causing a lot of adjustments as far as team chemistry and lineups are concerned.
“Right now, we’ve got players that are used to winning, whether it’s in their high school, club setting or even last year with our veteran team coming back,” Smith said. “And I know that they are very competitive. They’re going have to figure out how to win with this group now.”
While the Lady Yellow Jackets had a rocky start to the season, Smith appeared positive at the potential of his young team.
“I mean, it’s only the third week of the season,” Smith said. “We just didn’t finish.”
Smith shared his goals for upcoming matches.
“Consistency,” Smith said. “Just being able to play fluidly with rhythm. There was a lot of hesitation. Communication was the biggest part of that.”
The Lady Yellow Jackets will finish out the Cedarville Invitational against Saginaw Valley State tomorrow at 4:30 p.m.
Julia Swain is a freshman journalism student.