Women’s volleyball secures 13th win of the season, defeating Salve Regina

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Photo: Elaina Bolanos

The win bumped the women’s volleyball team’s record to 14-3.

By Leo Kagan, Staff Writer

As the fans poured into the Bobbi Brown and Steven Plofker Gym, the women’s volleyball team took on the Salve Regina Seahawks during Family Weekend, delivering a crowd-pleasing home sweep.

 

Heading into the match, the Lions were riding a six-consecutive-set win streak, adding three more in the battle against the Seahawks. 

 

The first set began with an Emerson point as junior middle hitter Isabella Cubba tipped the ball over the net onto the court amidst a crowd of Seahawks’ defenders. The Lions stuck to this strategy throughout the match, opting for precise tap-overs instead of heavier spikes, despite the strategy running contrary to Head Coach Benjamin Read’s initial game plan. 

 

“We knew [Salve Regina] played a shallow defense, and we were supposed to go for the corners,” said Read. “But we resort to what we’re comfortable doing instead of trusting ourselves. Had we tipped to deep corners, we would have probably had another four or five kills, and that’s what kept [the game] close.”

 

After Cubba’s initial kill, the Lions grabbed two more points to go up 3-0. The Seahawks clawed back and kept it a close game, eventually tying the Lions at 11. A powerful spike sent junior libero Caroline Davis scrambling to make a diving dig, allowing senior setter Caroline Bond to set up sophomore outside hitter Amelia Combs’ spike for the kill.  

 

The frantic rally would be the turning point in a tightly-contested set. The Lions went 14-6 to finish the first frame, clinching the 25-18 victory with an individual block by sophomore outside hitter Parker Cummings. Read said blocks like Cummings’ were key to the Lions’ win. 

 

“We competed at the net and did a good job of blocking,” he said. “We just controlled the net for a bunch of the time out there.”

 

The Lions have been on the net all season long, and Cubba’s 1.07 blocks per set leads the NEWMAC. 

 

The second set followed a similar pattern as the first, but the Lions soon took over, finishing the set on a controlled run. After Salve Regina’s Brighton Solheim tallied one to tie the game 15-15, the Lions registered six consecutive points and dropped just two rallies en route to a 25-17 win, capped by a powerful kill from Combs. 

 

In the third set—arguably the Lions’ best, with a final score of 25-15—the team utilized the full depth of its bench, ending the game with 15 of its 18 players making an appearance in at least a set. Bond said this depth played a significant role in their victory. 

 

“I don’t think I’ve ever played on a team where there are so many people that I would trust in different positions,” Bond said. “We had people playing in various spots tonight with confidence and composure. We have a deep bench with girls ready to come in whenever we need them.”

 

Friday’s win improved the Lions to a 13-2 record, and with just seven regular season games remaining, Read feels the team has put itself in a good position for postseason success. 

 

“Our only two losses are to the top teams in the conference,” Read said prior to the team’s loss against Springfield on Oct. 15. “I feel like we could have won one of those games and the other one; the team just played better than us. We have the ability to compete and beat both those teams, and we’ll probably see them in the playoffs.” 

 

The Lions’ pair of losses were at the hands of the MIT Engineers and the Babson Beavers, nationally ranked 21st and 22nd, respectively. To beat them, Read believes small improvements are in order. 

 

“The small changes will go a long way when it comes to playoffs,” he said. “Hopefully, we’re the team we want to be in two weeks.”

 

Friday’s game coincided with Emerson’s Family Weekend, allowing family and friends to spectate the Lions’ faceoff. Read highlighted the importance of having familiar faces in the crowd. 

 

“I wanted to have a home game for families to attend,” he said. “It’s important to play in our gym as much as possible, and that’s why we did Friday night. It was a great atmosphere. The stands were probably the most packed we’ve had all year.”