Women’s Volleyball Falls to Kenyon in NCAC Playoffs

Photo courtesy of Wooster Athletics
Langston Hood, Senior Sports Writer

The Wooster volleyball team traveled to Wittenberg University on Friday, Nov. 4 to partake in the NCAC tournament against a familiar foe, the Kenyon Owls. Last year, Wooster took part in a historic conference tournament run that lives on in the memory of volleyball fans far and wide, as they engineered a title run against all odds, defeating perennial powerhouses Denison and Wittenberg thanks to heroic performances across the board. However, each year is different and this year, Wooster would have to escape the Owls’ talons before dreaming of accomplishing a similar feat.

The matchup with Kenyon was one that favored Wooster, as the Scots defeated them in their final home game on Wednesday, Oct. 19. The stars were on full display in that match, with Sydney Fitzcharles ’23 and Emily Gail ’23, delivering season-best performances in digs and kills. On Saturday, Wooster jumped out to an early 4-1 lead thanks to a kill from Caroline Dillard ’24. The teams battled to 11-11 tie, 15-15, 19-19 and all the way up to 21-21 ties in a match that was anyone’s for the taking. Kenyon, however, responded to Tamara Turner’s ’25 kill with two of their own to take the set in 25-22. 

In the second set, Wooster responded well, jumping out to a 4-0 lead, but the resilient Owls battled back and tied the score at 11. Thanks to a collection of Kenyon errors, Wooster went on another run to take a 17-12 lead by way of kills from Gail and Turner. Kenyon then clawed their way back to a 22-22 tie before taking a 25-24 lead. Wooster, however, showcased their guts and guile this time, with a Gail kill locking the game at 25, before two errors gave the Scots a victory in set two, 27-25. 

The third set began like the other two, with Wooster racing out to a 12-4 lead thanks to a Fitzcharles service ace. Kenyon, however, put a run together and brought the game to an inevitable tie at 16. But this time, they refused to let the Scots back in the game, eventually prevailing by a score of 25-20. The Scots were well aware of Kenyon’s desperation. “I think Kenyon came into this game knowing that losing would be the end of their season,” said Dillard, “and they played with a lot more grit and determination this time around which changed the game significantly for them.”

At the beginning of set four, Kenyon took a 10-5 lead, seeming to beat out the more experienced Scots. This lead proved too large for the Scots, as they struggled to string together consistent passages of play. A Kenyon service error brought the game to 13-9, but that was as close as the Scots got in set four, losing to Kenyon 25-18 and ending Wooster’s season with a 3-1 defeat. Nash praised the mentality and ability of Kenyon. “I think Kenyon came prepared to do whatever they had to do to win. Once they found a weakness on our side of the court, they would capitalize on it until we adjusted… we made a few more errors than when we played them before and in a conference tournament you cannot afford to make too many mistakes.”

All was not doom and gloom, as Turner shared her thoughts on the season. “I think I’ll remember this season as a persevering season individually and as a group,” said Turner. “I know we all at times felt like throwing in the towel whether we were personally going through something or just not getting the results we wanted as a whole, but we still showed up and worked hard every single day and set new goals each week to try and be better in a new area and I think that shows more about our team than anything else.” Though sports may seem like a results-based business at times, it is important to reflect on the journey. Maley Tintsman ’23 also spoke to the overwhelmingly positive experience. “Even though this season did not go how we planned,” said Tintsman, “the women on this team continued to have strength and perseverance throughout.” Reflecting on the season, Tintsman added that “every day, we were excited to come to practice and games ready to compete and get better. This mindset made the season genuinely very fun and allowed for great, core memories to be made.”

Congratulations to the Wooster volleyball team on finishing out their season and a special thanks to the class of 2023 seniors for their extended dedication and contributions to Wooster Athletics.

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