Volleyball falls in Fort Wayne

Becca Langys, Courier Staff

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FORT WAYNE, IND.-  Western Illinois University Leatherneck volleyball (6-13) traveled to Fort Wayne, Ind. this past Sunday to play the Fort Wayne Mastodons (10-11). The Leathernecks fell to the Mastadons in three sets, making it their fourth conference loss of the season, scores being (24-26, 22-25, 16-25).

Throughout the entirety of their match, the Leathernecks struggled because they lackedconsistency. Offensively, Western came up short, earning a total of 24 kills compared to Fort Wayne’s 51 kills. The same can be said about the Leatherneck defense, earning a total of 39 digs trailing just behind the Mastodons’ 55 digs. Leatherneck blocks however absolutely dominated during the match, with Western earning a total of 13 blocks while Fort Wayne only earned 3.

As for individual stats, sophomore libero Claire Grove led the Leathernecks defensively, earning a total of 10 digs. Senior outside-hitter Shalyn Greenhaw led the way for Western offensively with a total of six kills. Just trailing behind Greenhaw, the Leathernecks were also led by red-shirt freshman outside hitter Mackenzie Steckler and freshman outside-hitter Emma Norris, both earning 5 kills for the Leathernecks. And of course, these kills would not be possible if not for freshman setter Cassie Hunt who earned a total of 10 assists throughout the course of the match.

The first game was full of energy for the Leathernecks. Throughout the entire game, the scores of each team never differed too much from one another, meaning that the Leatherneck fight never ceased, even in the later stages of the game. The Leathernecks, sparked by a kill from Norris, started the game out strong with a two-point lead over the Mastodons. Western maintained their two-point lead until a four-point Fort Wayne rally was sparked by a kill from the Mastodon side of the net. The Leathernecks did not stop pushing, however.

Western continued to fight and eventually they regained the lead over Fort Wayne. When the score was 23-22, the Mastodons earned two kills in a row, putting them back into the lead which eventually caused them to win the game. The Leathernecks took their first loss of the night, final game score being 24-26, match score 0-1.

Game two started with high energy coming from both sides of the net. The Leathernecks and Mastodons played tons of back-and-fourth volleyball, both teams only winning one-to-two points per serve. This gameplay continued until a four-point rally was sparked by a kill. The Leathernecks did not allow this rally to stop them, however. They bounced back immediately, working their way up to eventually be back within one point of the Mastodons.

After holding this position for a while, the Leathernecks had an attacking error which sparked another Mastodon rally that put Western too far back to recover. Fort Wayne used their momentum from the rally and continued to roll over the Leathernecks, eventually causing them to come out on top. The Leathernecks took their second loss of the night, game score of 22-25 and match score of 0-2.

The Leathernecks have been working on their momentum and staying energized throughout the course of their matches, and evidently their focus has been paying off because of their strong third-game start.

Western started the third game with determination, earning a three-point lead very early on. The Leathernecks struggled to maintain this lead, however, allowing Fort Wayne to slowly inch their way back into the game and eventually pass up the Leathernecks with a four-point rally.

The Mastodons maintained their lead for the remainder of the game, barely allowing Western to score any additional points. Fort Wayne had a strong offensive presence during the third game of this match, making it hard for the Leathernecks to return the balls placed on their side of the net. The Leathernecks eventually took their third and final loss of the night with a game score of 16-25 and a final match score of 0-3.

The Leathernecks plan to continue working on maintaining their momentum and energy throughout games in order to add more wins to their record.

Western will travel to Denver, Colo. to play The University of Denver this Friday at 7 p.m. in their sixth conference match of the season.

Twitter: beccalangysxo

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