The Lawrence University Volleyball team took the long trip down to Illinois this past weekend for a pair of games against Monmouth College and Knox College. Coming off their win over Illinois College, the team hoped to build momentum and raise their conference standing. Both games went the distance of five-sets, making it an intense weekend of volleyball.
The Lady Vikes faced off against Monmouth (6-12, 1-1 MWC) first on Friday, Oct. 6. Lawrence got off to a slow start against the Fighting Scots as they dropped the first set 21-25. However, the Lady Vikes responded in the second set. Lawrence went on a 5-0 run to build up a strong lead at 15-6, and they went on to win the second set 25-21. In the third set, the Lady Vikes started strong taking a 4-1; however, Monmouth prevailed in the end to take the third by a margin of 19-25. The fourth set started out very even, but then Lawrence went on another 5-0 run to take a 23-17 lead over Monmouth. The Lady Vikes went on to win the set 25-21 and force a fifth set. The fifth set belonged to Lawrence as they won it 15-9 to take home the victory.
Lawrence’s offense was led by junior Arianna Neumeyer and senior Arianna Cohen, who each had 12 kills in the game. Senior Rachel Wuensch added eight kills for the Lady Vikes. The defense was led by senior Cyra Bammer, who had 25 digs, while Neumeyer added 21 digs of her own. Senior Colleen Nowlan recorded five blocks, while Cohen and Neumeyer had four.
The next day, Saturday, Oct. 7, Lawrence took on the Knox College Prairie Fire (9-12, 0-4 MWC). The Lady Vikes got off to a slow start in the game dropping the first two sets 24-26 and 16-25. However, they came roaring back. Late in the third set Lawrence went on an 8-2 run to go up 22-16. They went on to win the third set 25-18. In the fourth set, they once again played well down the stretch to win the set 25-18 and force a fifth set. In the fifth, Knox got out to a 5-9 lead; however, Lawrence was able to tie it up at 11. The Lady Vikes would only give up one more point and they won the fifth set 15-12 giving them their second five-set win of the weekend.
Cohen played an impressive game leading the team with 19 kills. Neumeyer and Wuensch each added 11 kills for the Lady Vikes. Senior Sydney Nelson led the team in assists with 29, while senior Lauren Ray added 18. Bammer played a great defensive game with 31 digs, while Neumeyer added 14 digs. Freshman Addisyn Gerber led the team in blocks with four while Nowlan and Cohen each had three.
With the two wins, Lawrence improved to 8-12 on the season and 3-1 in conference play. They are currently sitting second in the conference standings, tied with St. Norbert College. Looking ahead, the Lady Vikes have a full week of conference play. It kicks off on Tuesday, Oct. 10 as they host Beloit College at Alexander Gymnasium. Lawrence then travels to Ripon College on Friday, Oct. 13 and then down to Lake Forest College on Saturday, Oct. 14. The team is hoping for a strong showing down the stretch as they make a run at the conference tournament and the conference title.
Confident junior Claire Vinopal said, “Our conference is taking a turn. IC, Knox and Monmouth have turned around and given us a challenge, but nothing we can’t compete with. Playing games to 5 seems to be our new thing—we just like to keep our fans’ hearts racing. I think we have brought a lot to the conference so far, and I know we won’t stop until 2017 gets put on our banner. By the end of this week, we will be 6-1.”