Volleyball team optimistic for season despite first game loss

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Sami Mirza/ The Campus

Middle Hitter Dagney Javes, ’25’ spikes the ball across the net at the Titans.

Prior to Wednesday night, it had been 670 days since Allegheny’s volleyball team had played a match. 

Despite the enthusiasm shown by both the players and the Allegheny fans filling the stands, Allegheny Gators lost against the Westminster College Titans with a match score of 3-1 (25-17, 15-25, 25-14, 25-22). First years were not the only athletes playing in this game that were new to college athletics. Their sophomore teammates were also experiencing their first time on the college court.

For not having played they’re kicking butt.”

— Cheyenne Wilson, '23, Captain, Women's Volleyball

“For not having played, they’re kicking butt,” said Captain Cheyenne Wilson ’23.

Wilson also spoke well of the team as a whole.

“I think we played well,” Wilson said. I think we have a lot to prove and it’s just going to get better from here.”

Co-captain Olivia D’Andrea, ’22, agreed.

“Our team chemistry is the best that I’ve been on in years,” D’Andrea said.

The opposing teams were closely matched. Rallys were long lasting and fast, while hard shots were often countered. The last set of the game was a close loss for the Gators by three points. During that set, the Gators pushed through their exhaustion and discouragement, yet played their all, forcing the Titans to do the same. Throughout the game the Gators often dove for balls, and their plays were obviously strategic; they knew exactly where on the court their teammates were at all times.

“They also give 150% effort in everything they do,” Head Coach Kelly Barzak said. “They are putting in a ton of work in the off season and it’s really showing this year.”

The team was supportive of one another during each point. When they won the point, a series of high-fives ensued, but when the team lost a point, they gathered for a quick huddle before positioning themselves on the court. Wilson loved the feeling of comradery with her team.

“Even when we are down we are still smiling at each other,” Wilson said. “No one ever really gets mad at each other. We are always picking each other up and pushing each other to be better.”

Each time a player switched from the court to the bench, every one of her fellow teammates slapped her hand. This commitment to supporting each other became crucial with the struggles that came with COVID-19.

“I love my team,” D’Andrea said. “With the pandemic we’ve been through a lot of ups and downs and I think it just made it stronger. We consider each other family. And I think it shows through on the court.”

While attitude can often have the greatest impact on a player’s performance, how they react to a mistake or how they are feeling can influence what kind of impact they have on the game.

D’Andrea and Wilson said they are looking forward to continuing their close-knit sportsmanship through the rest of the season.

“Our ability to laugh at everything and anything (is our best quality),” Wilson said. “Our ability to laugh and be able to giggle about things makes it a little bit easier to get through the hard times and push through to be better.” 

The next volleyball match will be the Allegheny Gator Invitational on Sept. 17 at 4 p.m. against Hilbert College or 8 p.m. against Waynesburg University.