Women’s volleyball swept in conference opener

The women’s volleyball team started four freshmen on Tuesday against Wellesley College, a team with two freshmen on their entire roster, and lost 3-0 in its first New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference and home game of the season.

The Lions played their first eight games on the road and had a record of 6-2 before Tuesday.

“Our team is vastly different than it was last year,” sophomore defensive specialist Lauren Quan said. “Having good team chemistry is key to having all of us work together, keep each other accountable, and be competitive. It has really helped us start off really strong.”

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Wellesley College had a similar record to Emerson at 5-3. 

Head coach Ben Read said the team lost due to a combination of inexperience at home and strong competition. 

“It was our first home game,” Read said in an interview. “We had our first conference game against a very strong opponent. They’re ranked fifth in the region, and they were in the NCAA [tournament] the last couple years. I think we honestly got in our own head.”

After the Lions tied the score 9-9 in the first set, they committed three straight attacking errors and Wellesley took a 12-9 lead. Wellesley never lost its advantage and won the set 25-18. 

Read said he liked the adjustments the Lions made throughout the game.

“We got better with serving, we got better with passing, and we shifted our defense a block,” Read said. “A few of our attackers executed pretty well, and I thought our middles did a good job as far as attacking.”

The Lions kept the second set close throughout and tied the game 18-18 before Wellesley won the second set 25-22. 

“I think it was mostly all of our mistakes and us putting too much pressure on ourselves,” Quan said.

After the Lions tied the set 12-12, Wellesley scored 11 out of the next 15 points to give the Blue a 23-16 lead. 

The Lions rallied with five points in a row, but Wellesley scored the last two points to win the game. 

“Hopefully it is a learning experience,” Read said. “That’s what I told the team. I hope it’s the first and last time we have to have this conversation. I think we got in our own heads and did not play the way we can play.”

The Lions will be in action again on Saturday, Sept. 21 at 12 p.m. against the United States Coast Guard Academy for another conference contest. 

“It’s a mental game, we have the athletic ability, we got the talent,” Read said. “We just got to pull it together and believe in ourselves. Once we do that, we can sweep some of these teams.”

Albany Alexander is the deputy business manager for The Beacon.

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