Starting off strong at the Hall of Fame City Challenge, the Fighting Scots came back this weekend with an impressive start to their season. The women’s volleyball team finished up Friday with a 2-0 streak and a 3-1 overall mark for the weekend. Aside from coming home with a solid start to the season, head coach Missy Soboleski was pleased with the overall performance of her players.
“One of our goals for the weekend was to see how some players were going to handle the pressures of a match. We have depth in each position so we have some different lineups to look at,” Soboleski said. “I was pleased with our defense and passing and look to keep working on that area. We ran down, chased and out dug teams this weekend.”
The Scots defeated Concord 25-13, 25-17, 25-19 in the first match on Friday. Sophomore Challen Litwiler led the Scots with 11 kills, one short of tying a career-high, along with 11 digs. Transfer from Charleston (WV), Victoria Severo, contributed eight kills and a .533 hitting percentage in her first match as a Scot. Sydney Trathen finished with 31 assists.
“This was a good weekend for our team. We have been working very hard this preseason and it was nice to see the hard work pay off,” Soboleski said.
The second match was closer for the Scots, but they still came out on top. They defeated Urbana 27-25, 25-16, 25-23. Litwiler again led the offense with 12 kills while Severo added seven. Trathen contributed 27 assists and had 11 digs.
On Saturday, the Fighting Scots defeated Malone in the first match of the day. They went 25-22, 25-16, 23-25 and 25-16. Severo led the attack with 16 kills and a .640 hitting percentage in the match. Trathen contributed a team-high 47 assists in the match. Latoya Hutchinson led the Scots with five blocks, while Jen Gruber and Severo added four block assists. Litwiler and Maycock both totaled a team-high 15 digs for the match.
“Marah Maycock led us in passing and digging, it might have been the best defensive performance I have seen in a long time from any one player,” Soboleski said. “Challen [Litwiler] and Megan [Screptock] also did a great job defensively and the three of them together make a great defensive team.”
On the offensive side of things, Soboleski also thought her athletes worked very well together. “Offensively we were well balanced, lead by Victoria [Severo], but also solid performances by many throughout the matches; Challen [Litwiler], Latoya [Hutchinson], Jen [Gruber] all showed they can put the ball away. Also, Sydney [Trathen] had a solid weekend running the offense.”
In the final match of the tournament, the Scots lost a close match to Northwest Missouri State. They played a close four games, but fell short 22-25, 23-25, 25-20, 23-25. Litwiler again led the attack with 16 kills, while Trathen contributed 42 assists. Freshman Hannah Cantrill posted a careerhigh .600 hitting percentage in the match. Gruber led the defense with four assists in the match. Severo and Trathen were selected to the all-tournament team. Trathen finished her weekend leading the team with 147 assists. Severo concluded her first tournament as a Scot with 42 kills, a .539 hitting percentage and eight blocking assists.
“We competed well, we played together and we had a lot of positive energy. I think if we keep this up throughout the season, we’ll be very successful,” Trathen said. “We will keep plugging away and working on offensive connections and working on our ball control this week. I am pleased with the weekend,” Soboleski concluded.
The Fighting Scots will head back out on the road to return to action at the two-day Virginia State Tournament in Ettrick, Virginia. Their first match will be Friday at 6 p.m. against Charleston (Wv.).
Becca Martin is the copy editor for The Spectator. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.