The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
May 6, 2024
Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Volleyball looks for revenge in MWC tournament

Owen Barbato
Members of the volleyball team practicing on Wednesday Nov. 8 in preparation for their matches at the Midwest Conference tournament.

In the final three sets of a season-defining match, the Grinnell women’s volleyball team managed to emerge victorious against contender Monmouth College, securing a spot in their seventh Midwest Conference (MWC) tournament appearance in the last eight years. Now, the team faces off against rival Cornell College at the semifinal of the MWC tournament later today.

“The overall sentiment was, ‘Okay, we’re back at it next week,’” Emily Brewer `24.5 said about the team’s win over Monmouth. “We celebrate the wins, but also acknowledge that we still have work to do.” 

Before the Nov. 4 match against Monmouth, Grinnell faced Cornell in their seventh conference game of the season. In a valiant attempt, Grinnell managed to snatch one set victory from the nationally ranked Cornell, but ultimately lost the game. Head coach Eric Ragan said he remains optimistic in light of this recent setback.

“It was a really close match,” he said of the game against Cornell on Nov. 1. “We’re hopeful that it’s [the semifinal] another really close and competitive match, and this time we come out on top.” 

The Grinnell women’s volleyball team has a long history with Cornell’s team. Grinnell has lost to Cornell in playoff games leading up to the MWC tournament for the past three seasons. In 2019, under similar circumstances as this year, Grinnell defeated Cornell in the semifinal of the tournament and ended up qualifying for the National College Athletics Association (NCAA) Division III national tournament. Players said they hope to return to this level of achievement. 

“I think this year we’re looking to get a little revenge tour,” Malaina Miles `24.5 said. 

“The fifth years are the only ones who have beaten them so far,” Brewer said about Cornell. “I think the rest of us are hungry for a win.”

Rachel Woock `23.5, who was part of the roster that defeated Cornell in the 2019 tournament, said, “That was definitely a moment for me where I was like, ‘We can do this.’ And ever since then, our team’s been obviously trying to go for that again. And I think after playing Cornell, I feel like we can really do it.”

I think this year we’re looking to get a little revenge tour

— Malaina Miles `24.5

With the match so close to their last face-off against Cornell, both athletes on the team and Ragan said they are not focusing so much on changing their skills to better suit a defense and offense against Cornell, but rather emphasizing teamwork. 

“What can we make changes to within the next week?” Woock said. “It’s probably not as much skills. It’s more about finding places on the court that are going to work, and coming together as a team and focusing on our energy and our communication.” 

Miles said that from the Cornell game to the Monmouth game, the team experienced “a big mental switch.” 

“So far this season, we haven’t had a lot of players ‘on’ per se,” she said. “And the Monmouth game was the first time that we’ve had almost anybody that was on the court 100 percent ‘on.’”

Ragan said the team was also playing their “best volleyball now.” At the Monmouth game, Brewer broke a school record for number of assists in a five-set game — 68 total. 

“We played a really tough schedule,” Ragan said. “And we’re seeing all of those challenging situations paying off towards the end of the season.”

The results of the MWC tournament semifinal will be available on the Grinnell Athletics website after the 7 p.m. game on Nov. 10. 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Taylor Nunley
Taylor Nunley, Community Editor
Taylor is a second-year Classics and English double major from Huntington, West Virginia. Her life-long goal is to ride as many forms of transportation as possible.
Owen Barbato
Owen Barbato, Staff Photographer
Owen is a third-year psychology and political science major from South Pasadena, California. When he's not photographing for the paper, Owen enjoys taking nighttime and landscape photos. In his free time, Owen can be found trying to learn guitar and overanalyzing music.
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *