After losing on their home court during Homecoming weekend, the John Carroll University volleyball team was out for revenge during its second home match of the year, a matchup with the Capital University Crusaders. Revenge is exactly what they got, as they came away with a win on Saturday at home, defeating the Crusaders in four sets for JCU’s first Ohio Athletic Conference win.
In the first set, the Blue Streaks jumped out to a quick 9-3 lead in large part thanks to sophomore Sarah Orlandi, who recorded three of her 14 kills of the match in the first set. The Crusaders would not go away quietly, though, responding with an 11-5 run that would tie the game up at 14.
The rest of the set was back and forth until JCU gained a 21-18 lead following back-to-back kills by sophomore Alex Ehrett. Capital then called a timeout, which changed the course of the match. The Crusaders tied the score at 21 and eventually closed out the tight set after multiple attack errors by the Blue Streaks, winning 25-23.
The Blue and Gold came out with a fire in the second set, as freshman Leah Switalski recorded a kill and then two consecutive aces. Switalski’s performance, plus three Capital errors, gave JCU the early 7-1 lead. The Blue Streaks never looked back, quickly gaining a 16-8 lead with two kills from freshman Alexa Webber in the process. The Blue Streaks only allowed Capital to score five more points through great defensive play and a potent attack led by Webber, Switalski and Orlandi, as JCU easily pulled away for the 25-13 win.
Webber stayed hot in the third set, recording four kills to give JCU an early 11-6 lead. Capital remained resilient with a run of its own to knot the set at 15.
A kill by junior Jessica Kodrich then sparked a run that would ultimately lead JCU to take the 25-21 win, despite Capital’s strong 5-1 run at the end of the set.
The Blue Streaks were afflicted by sloppy play in the final set of the match, committing five errors on the attack. Capital took advantage and jumped out to a quick 9-2 lead. JCU remained behind until they tied the game at 14. The set remained within one point until the end, when Webber closed out the match with a thundering kill.
Sophomore Sarah Kaminski led the defensive charge for JCU with a match-high 25 digs. Webber dominated with a match-high 16 kills and freshman Kit O’Shaughnessy remained the go-to setter with 49 assists.
With the win, JCU improved to 13-7, 1-1 on the season. The team’s next match will be at Marietta College on Friday, Oct. 11. Head coach Laura Rodeffer will be looking for her team to show improvement in a few areas as OAC play heats up.
“We need to bring a consistent intensity on the defensive side of the ball,” Rodeffer said. “We tend to wait for teams to bail us out with mistakes instead of getting tough and making things happen defensively. The teams in our conference are stronger and more experienced than we are, and they don’t make many mistakes.”