By Pat Mariboe
Senior Sports Writer
Shorewomen volleyball team started off their season this past weekend when they traveled to Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania to take part in the DeSales Invitational. The teams that competed in the two day tournament included Gwynedd Mercy University of Pa., Rutgers-Camden of N.J., Baruch College of N.Y., and host DeSales University. Although the Shorewomen finished last season with a 17-10 overall record, they looked to improve on their 4-7 away record, and hoped this tournament could be the start of new things to come.
In the first day of the tournament, Washington College was up against Gwynedd Mercy in the opening match. Strong performances by senior duo Alexis Jordan and Audrey Utchen helped the Shorewomen win the first two sets of the match. In the third set, the Griffins led 21-16, but, the Shorewomen fought back and won the final set 26-24. Sophomore Kaitlyn Marino and junior Taylor Horan combined for the final two points of the set to give WC their first victory of the season.
In the second match of the day against Baruch, the Shorewomen narrowly won the first set 26-24 after a back and forth contest. The Shorewomen then dominated the second set, winning 25-9. In the third set, WC led 24-18 and managed to close off the match 25-23 after a late surge from the Bearcats. The Shorewomen finished off the day with a 2-0 record after two strong performances.
On day two of the tournament, WC faced off against DeSales in their first match of the day. DeSales managed to comfortably win the first two sets 25-16 and 25-18. In the third set, the Shorewomen were holding on to a 14-7 lead, but, the Bulldogs fought back and won the final set 25-21 to give the Shorewomen their first loss of the tournament.
In their final match, WC faced off in a thriller against Rutgers-Camden. The Scarlet Raptors won the first set of the match 25-21, but the Shorewomen mustered up some late heroics and went on to win the next three sets 25-20, 25-13, and 25-21, resulting in a 3-1 match win.
The Shorewomen finished the tournament with a 3-1 record, with two of those wins coming in three set sweeps. Junior Alaina Geissberger was a standout at the weekend, and named to the all-tournament team.
“It feels really good to be named all-tournament team,” Geissberger said. “I am honored that all the hard work from preseason paid off.”
Geissberger expressed her excitement over the team’s performance at the tournament and looks forward to using some of that momentum for the rest of the season.
“I think our team played great,” she said. “We started off a little rusty with our first game on Friday night, but we were able to play back at our level for the second game. On Saturday, it was a tough game against DeSales, but as a team I think we played well, and as the season goes on I know we’ll be able to come out and beat good teams like DeSales. I think the main things to take away from this tournament are that as a team we need to work on our serve receive and defense. I’m sure we will work hard on these things this coming week to prepare for our next game on Saturday. When we are consistent, playing good defense, and putting up big blocks, we can be unstoppable.”
Head coach Jamie Leventry thinks his team has what it takes to take the step to the next level this season.
“The team was a little streaky during the Invitational,” he said. “We played well when we had to in order to get the wins we did, however, we have a lot of work to do. This team is one that will be significantly better at the end of the season than we are right now, and I’m really looking forward to the journey with them. Our match against DeSales showed us some areas that we need to improve upon. It also showed that when we play our game we can compete with and beat everyone on our schedule. Consistency will be our challenge this year. I’m very pleased with our team’s effort and desire this past weekend. I know that will push us to be even better as the season progresses.”
The Shorewomen have a week to prepare before they travel to Reading, Pa. to face off in their next matches against Alvernia University and Immaculata University on Sept. 10.