Coming home on a winning streak after a long road trip always feels good. The John Carroll University volleyball team felt elated after rolling through the Carnegie Mellon Invitational this past weekend and sweeping all four matches.
The team began the weekend with a matchup with Case Western Reserve University on Friday, Sept. 20. The Blue Streaks avenged a loss to CWRU on Sept. 6, taking down the Spartans in three sets, 25-17, 25-18, 25-14.
Freshman Leah Switalski, junior Jessica Kodrich and sophomore Sarah Orlandi led the attack for JCU with eight kills apiece. Kodrich and Orlandi performed admirably on defense at the net with 11 blocks apiece. Sophomore Sara Kaminski contributed with a team-high 29 digs and freshman Kit O’Shaughnessy recorded 32 assists.
Immediately following the match with CWRU, JCU continued their dominating performance, sweeping Farmingdale State College in three sets, 25-12, 25-15, 25-10. The Blue Streaks defense continued to be a huge help, as JCU recorded nine blocks and 42 digs. They also remained solid behind a kill attack led by sophomore Alex Ehrett and freshman Alexa Webber with seven kills apiece. Kaminski once again led the team with 12 digs and O’Shaughnessy dominated with 20 assists.
Those two performances helped to give JCU early momentum, propelling them past the host Carnegie Mellon University in a rematch from earlier this season. This time, JCU came out on top in five sets, 25-11, 22-25, 25-23, 22-25, 15-12. O’Shaughnessy recorded her first career triple-double with 47 assists, 15 digs and 11 kills of her own. Helping out O’Shaughnessy at the net were Orlandi and Kodrich with 13 kills apiece. Switalski also recorded 10 digs from her middle blocking position for a double-double. The Blue and Gold’s defense, led by Kaminski’s 36 digs, limited CMU on offense.
Finally, after only a two hour break, JCU recorded their 12th win of the season. JCU beat Geneva College in three sets, 26-24, 25-17, 25-14. Webber had a breakout game, recording 16 kills, followed closely by Switalski with 10. Kaminski continued to dominate in the back row with 21 digs for the Blue Streaks.
This team’s success this past weekend and this season is no accident. As evident from the stats, O’Shaughnessy has been a big contributor to the team. Head coach Laura Rodeffer said that O’Shaughnessy has taken a leadership role, despite her class year.
“Kit is probably one of the most competitive people on our team, which is a great quality for a setter to have,” Rodeffer said. “She is definitely a player who is leading by example right now.”
Surpassing the win total from last season is also a very big step, and Kodrich attributes it to two reasons.
“Attitude and dedication definitely,” Kodrich said. “Last year, we just wanted to beat the year before – beat getting last. This year we actually want to get into the top of the conference. We’re actually competing.”