By Andrew Chirico
Elm Staff Writer
After an extremely successful out-of-conference record last season, going 16-2, the Shorewomen carried their previous success over to Salisbury in their season opener. The annual rivalry between the two programs ended in a Washington College sweep in just three sets, 25-18, 25-23, and 25-17.
Not only was the sweep against the Sea Gulls an impressive way to start the season, it broke a 21 year, 17-match losing streak to Salisbury. “It feels great to win that match. The team really wanted to play well and came out very fired up. I wasn’t aware that it had been 21 years since we beat Salisbury, but it feels good to break that streak.” said Head Coach Jamie Leventry.
Salisbury got ahead early in the first set, scoring the first two points. But, they couldn’t grasp their early momentum. WC went on to score seven straight points forcing a Salisbury timeout. After the timeout, WC found their lead trimmed to just two points. The 8-6 score was the closest Salisbury got to the Shorewomen in the first set. The Shorewomen maintained at-least a three point lead throughout, eventually ending the set off an attack error from the host team.
The second set, which was the closest, stalled within three points during the entire back and forth showdown. The Seagulls were ready to take the set as they rapidly scored two points, bringing the set to 24-23. The Shorewomen eventually prevailed off another attack error to finish off the set.
WC got up quickly in the final set thanks to hitting .344 and going on an explosive run to give them a 20-8 lead. Salisbury did not go away quickly, drawing six points. The late match magic dimmed out, and WC finished the game off another attack error.
Stuffing the stat column was sophomore setter Taylor Horan, who had a match high of 30 assists. Following Horan was junior libero Audrey Utchen who also had a match high of 19 digs. Leading the Shorewomen in kills were freshman Kaitlyn Marino with 11 and senior Kirstin Lee with nine.
The team believes improvements still need to be made in order to make it to the Centennial Conference Tournament after only going 3-7 in conference play last season. As a senior and a captain, Lee is certainly one who wants the program to grow.
“We did really well last night and showed that we’re a really capable, well-rounded team. But it’s just the beginning of the season, and we still have a lot to work on. I expect that we’ll continue to improve as the season progresses, and I can’t wait to see how it goes.” said Lee.
“If we continue to work hard and aim to always improve, then the rest of the season looks very promising for us!” said Utchen.
The Shorewomen look to kick off their Centennial Conference campaign on a high note when they travel to John’s Hopkins on Sept. 16 at 7 p.m.
*All game statistics courtesy of washingtoncollegesports.com box score reports.*