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The Scarlet & Black

Volleyball wins last home game

by Michael Schoelz
The Grinnell Women’s Volleyball team beat Knox College 3-0 on Wednesday, ending this season’s home games with a record of 10-4.  After dropping to 4-11 in the beginning of the first game, the Pioneers rallied to win 25-23 and dominated the Prairie fire for the rest of the night.  They won the next two games 25-13 and 25-14.
“We have those moments where we have slow starts but we never lose that notion that we’re going to win,” said Head Coach Jackie Hutchison.
Knox Head Coach Kim Schrader was impressed with the Pioneers’ ability to take control of the game.
“I felt like Grinnell did a better job than us on recognizing holes on the floor and putting the ball in those places and recognizing and changing the tempo the game when it needed to be changed,” Schrader said.  “They forced us to make errors, and Grinnell always has a great home crowd and that makes it a hostile environment.”
Wednesday’s game was the culmination of a strong season (5-4, 13-15) for the Pioneers, who struggled last year to a record of 7-21.  Bonnie Kirchner ’12 said that the game against Knox was “about as good as it gets.”
“Everyone played so well,” Kirchner said. “That was one of the best games that we played all season. Jackie [Hutchison] has just turned this team around.  Last year, we were struggling against teams like Knox.  It’s funny, we were watching teams and I felt like we were watching ourselves a couple years ago. It was nice this year to beat them.”
“It seems like every bit of [the team] has improved,” Hutchison said.  “It wasn’t that our best player got better and that’s why were winning.  It’s like the people in the middle, the people everywhere, and as all of them got better the team got better.”
The victory was especially sweet because it was the last home game of the season and the last home game ever for seniors Caroline Bailey ’10, Carlie Beach ’10, Mo Gallo-Chasanoff ’10 and Caitlin Helterline ’10.
“It feels really good to have such a great group of girls that will be following us up,” Beach said. “The team is in good hands. It feels good to have played a season where I feel like I’ve reached my potential and the team has reached its potential. This year has been one of the best years of volleyball in my life.”
The win over Knox, who is in last place in the MWC standings, was a crucial one for the Pioneers. In order to keep their Conference Tournaments hopes alive, the Pioneers had to beat Knox and now they have to wait and hope that Lawrence University beats Lake Forest College tomorrow.
The Pioneers wrap up their regular season tomorrow in the non-conference Benedictine University Tourney in Lisle, Ill. Although conference foe Monmouth will be one of the teams attending, the pressure to make the conference tournament will be off the Pioneers.
“We have four games in less than 24 hours,” Beach said.  “We’re pretty excited that it’s non-conference so were going to have a time to let loose and not have to be so focused.”
If the Pioneers do make it to the MWC conference tournament, they will begin play next weekend.

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