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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 Takes Two Out of Three

At the Grinnell Tournament this past weekend, the Grinnell volleyball team went two for three, ending in a thrilling fashion. The Pioneers lost their first game against Cornell College on Friday 1-3, but bounced back to win their next two on Saturday, first sweeping Westminster College, then beating Iowa Wesleyan 3-2 a few hours later.

Rebecca DeGroot'14 hits the ball during a match over the weekend at the Grinnell Tournament in Darby Gymnasium. Photograph by Travis Law.

Although the Pioneers previously lost to Cornell College this season on Sep 5 in Mt. Vernon, IA, the second loss to the Rams on Friday was far less discouraging.

“It was definitely a goal for us to get a win this weekend, but I think we went into this weekend, confident and fired up having played Cornell earlier that week,” Olivia Wilks ’12 said. “We were ready to show our true colors. Although we didn’t beat Cornell, we played a much better match against them and took one game as well as demonstrated that we had learned from our earlier loss.”

Claire Weidman ’15 was satisfied with their performance.“We started off the game a bit slow, but ended the game strong,” Weidman said. “I wasn’t upset about the loss because it was a good game.”

Wilks lead the team in assists and digs with 31 and 18 respectively. Weidman led the Pioneers with 11 kills, while Michelle Briggs ’13 had nine kills along with team-high five blocks.

Despite the loss, the Pioneers felt good about how they played on Friday and rode the momentum to the next day. The team’s rising confidence was evident as the players were not worried about losing the game even when they were down at some points. They handled Westminster with ease, sweeping all three sets and earning their first victory of the season.

“We were all hungry for a win and it was awesome,” Briggs said. “Even though we lost to Cornell in the first game of the tournament, we gained confidence from [how we played] and we were proud of ourselves. That pride and confidence from [Friday] definitely helped us come into the game on Saturday.”

Kate Duran ’12 added, “Despite the fact that we hadn’t won a game [so far in the season], I knew that we were going to win [against Westminster]. Even when we were down, I wasn’t worried for one second.”

Duran had 13 digs against Westminster while Briggs had one of the highest efficiencies in Grinnell history hitting .632 on 12 kills. Weidman’s four-point service run in the first set with the score tied 20-20 set the tone for the rest of the game and the Pioneers never looked back.

A couple hours after winning their first game of the season, the team fought a hard-fought battle against Iowa Wesleyan. Each team won two sets and Wesleyan led Grinnell 13-11 in the fifth set, but Wesleyan’s errors and Grinnell’s strong defense were the key to victory as the Pioneers took the fifth set 16-14.

Wilks believes that the final match will be a game to be remembered.

“The Iowa Wesleyan game is a fitting example of the heart that this team has,” she said. “After a long weekend, with a new rotation of players in to be able to take the match to 5 games is a really difficult feat. The energy in Darby highlighted the hunger our team has to become a top team this year, but also the amazing fan base we are lucky to have. For me the intensity and pressure of the fifth game is an unparalleled experience of fortitude and fun.”

Briggs, whose two blocks late in the game helped seal the deal for the Pioneers, added that the frantic energy in the crowd energized the team

“I came in feeding off people’s energy,” she said. “I could tell we were going to take this game and we did.”
The performances of Duran and Wilks earned them the honors of being named to the All-Tournament Team.

The Pioneers head to MN this Friday to participate in the Macalester Invitational in St. Paul, MN. Feeding off energy and confidence from their Tournament, the team has expectations.

“Traditionally, we have had a really hard time winning on the road,” Duran said. “I think having the support of the entire team will help us get some W’s. And going into the tournament with two wins under our belt will help too.”

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