After Notre Dame College swept the John Carroll University Blue Streaks volleyball team in straight games to open the 2009 season, the team was determined to reverse their fate in the opening game of the 2010 campaign.
Coach Cally Plummer’s squad did just that, as they knocked off the visiting Falcons in straight sets (25-17, 25-19, 25-19) to begin the season 1-0.
Game one proved to be a back and forth contest, as it fell to a tie for the seventh time at 11-11. It was then that sophomore Jess Hammer exploded on to the scene, as she aided the Streaks in taking ten of the next twelve points, including six of her own to take game one.
John Carroll was off and running out of the gates in the second game, as they took 14 of the first 19 points. Juniors Laura Sudo and Kerry Fox each had two kills early.
Although the lead began to slide, the Blue Streaks held on for dear life and pulled out a 25-19 victory.
Freshman Teresa Noewer made a statement in game three with seven of her match-high 12 kills. Noewer and Fox combined for 44 kills on the night, while senior Meredith McDiarmid had 36 assists.
Sophomores Emily Bendzak and Melanie Rodriguez paced the team with 12 digs and freshman Charlotte Sykora had three solo blocks.
This sweet victory for the Streaks not only avenged last season’s loss, but set the tone for the weekend the Blue Streaks were about to have.
The team spent the weekend in Delaware, Ohio competing in the Ohio Wesleyan University Invitational. The ladies’ outstanding play would earn them a spot in the championship match against Alma College (4-0), a 2009 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association semifinalist.
Coach Plummer’s team got to that point by going 3-0 in pool play to reach the finals by sweeping Ohio Wesleyan (25-22, 25-18, 25-21), defeating Adrian College in a five-game match (25-23, 25-16, 21-25, 19-25, 15-11) and culminating with a sweep of Grove City College (25-17, 25-19, 25-8).
In the championship match, however, the Blue Streaks would fall to Alma by scores of 25-17, 25-17 and 25-22. Fox and McDiarmid were named to the Ohio Wesleyan Invitational All-Tournament team.
After finishing last year with a 12-17 mark and only posting a 4-5 Ohio Athletic Conference record, the Streaks were determined to improve in 2010.
They felt their best chance to succeed would be through their veteran players.
“In the offseason we did a ton of cardio and lifting to enhance our strength and endurance in order to get ready for our season,” said McDiarmid.
It certainly has paid off in the early going as the 4-1 mark ties the 2008 team as Coach Plummer’s best start to a season.
“One of our biggest factors to such a great start is our team chemistry,” said Fox. “We all get along really well and have fun together, and that translates to success on the court. This team has a strong work ethic as well as raw talent, and it’s becoming more and more evident in how hard we push each other in practices and games.”
Editor’s Note: The Blue Streaks looked to continue their hot start with last night’s match against Hiram College. For full details, log on to jcusports.com.