Senior Colleen Nowlan celebrates after winning a point. Photo courtesy of Lawrence Athletics
After losing eight straight games, the Lawrence University volleyball team was finally able to right the ship on Saturday, Sept. 16, the second day of the Red Hawk Invitational hosted by Ripon College. The Lady Vikes started the day off with a 3-1 win over Marian University, a team they beat by the same score at home 10 days earlier. Lawrence then pulled out another victory in an epic, high-energy match-up against the St. Mary’s University Cardinals.
The Lady Vikes won the first two sets 25-23, 25-23 before dropping the next two sets 19-25 and 13-25. However, Lawrence rallied and won the tie-breaking fifth set 15-13 to win the game 3-2. The Lady Vikes started off the crucial fifth set with a 4-0 run. They fell behind St. Mary’s 11-13 later on, but they did allow another point to claim the victory. Lawrence won the game on a ball-handling error by St. Mary’s.
“Our win against St. Mary’s was awesome! The energy coming from the whole team was contagious and everyone was engaged in every point. It was so cool to look over from the court and see the girls on the sidelines screaming and jumping, and it was awesome to be a part of some really competitive play” said senior Colleen Nowlan.
On the attacking side of the game, freshman Alyssa Peterson lead the team in kills in the matchup with 12 while junior Arianna Neumeyer contributed 10. Fellow seniors Lauren Ray and Sydney Nelson led the team in assists with 14 and 13 respectively. For their defensive efforts, Neumeyer, senior Cyra Bammer, and junior Katie Kumbalek all had 18 digs in the game. Nowlan contributed seven blocks while Neumeyer added six. Neumeyer was also named to the all-tournament team for the Red Hawk Invitational for her play on both Friday and Saturday.
The Lady Vikes are nearing the end of their non-conference schedule. While their record, at 5-10, is not impressive, the team is excited about where they are headed. “The season has been going really well. The team has gotten along great and everyone puts forth great effort at practice. Our preseason schedule has been hard and we’ve played some really good teams, but we have put up a fight and played really well” said Nowlan. “I think that game, and our entire preseason, has set us off in the right direction now that we are starting conference [play] in a week!” added Nowlan.
Lawrence will play their final non-conference game when they host the Carroll University Pioneers on Thursday, September 21 at 7 p.m. at Alexander Gymnasium. The Lady Vikes lost a close five-set game to Carroll last Saturday, September 16 at the Red Hawk Invitational. Lawrence lost the first two sets in that game before winning the next two only to lose the fifth set 15-17. The team would like to end their non-conference schedule with a win. After that, Lawrence will start its conference schedule on Thursday, September 27 as they hope to make it to the conference tournament for the second year in a row.