Women’s volleyball sweeps Rivier, extends winning streak to 3

By Jordan Pagkalinawan, Kasteel Well Bureau Chief

The Emerson women’s volleyball team claimed victory against the Rivier Raiders on Wednesday night, improving to 7-1 overall following their third sweep in a row.


One week removed from their first loss of the season to MIT, the Lions returned to their winning ways, not dropping a set along the way.


Rivier opened the first set strong, taking a 4-1 lead before the Lions got back in the game with kills from sophomore outside hitters Isabella Chu and Parker Cummings. The Lions eventually took an 8-6 lead after consecutive errors by Rivier, who responded with two kills that tied the game at eight.  


The back-and-forth continued throughout the set, with strong rallies from both sides, only ever separated by three at 15-12.  As much as there were kills, there were plenty of errors on both sides, but the Lions capitalized on their opportunities and took the first set 25-21.


Head coach Ben Read praised Rivier for their serving and passing, the latter of which the Lions were able to exploit.  


“We recognized some other people weren’t passing as well, and we targeted them,” he said.  “Once we got them out of [their] system, we could set up our defense and [do] what we needed to do.”


The Lions began the second set in control, taking a 5-0 lead that forced a Rivier timeout.  Though Rivier got on the board with a kill, the Lions could not be stopped, and in the blink of an eye, it was 12-3, Emerson.  


Emerson continued to dominate the second set, with notable kills coming from first-year outside hitter Taylor Esmie and sophomore outside hitter Amelia Combs. The Lions capped off set two 25-8 with a block from senior setter Rebecca Polsky.


The third set began with several errors on both sides, but the Lions clinched a 4-1 lead. They jumped out to a 7-3 lead with kills from Cummings and senior middle Logan Steenbergen, both assisted by senior setter Caroline Bond, who finished the game with 17 assists.  


The momentum continued with a block by Bond and junior middle Isabella Cubba. Though the Lions led 8-3, Rivier stormed back, tying the set on an ace, and in the next play, another ace gave them a 9-8 lead, forcing Read to call a timeout.  


The Lions came out of the time out and eventually took the lead at 11-10—one they would not give up for the rest of the match. Pulling away at 16-14, the Lions closed the set on a 9-0 run, capping off their sweep with a score of 25-14.


The team faced multiple close points in the game but waswere able to take control due to their match mentality.


I am proud of us for never letting up,” Combs said after the game.  “Even when we had a large lead, but most importantly, it was fun being on the court.


After a series of away games, the Bobbi Brown and Steven Plofker Gym became a massive boon to the Lions.


“We just had to get used to being back on the court at home,” said Cummings, who led the offense with eight kills. “Once we got used to it, and we remembered what we were doing, we killed it.”

The Lions “killed it” indeed, tallying 30 kills as a team. While Cummings had eight, Combs contributed six, and Chu had four. Combs also had a season-high six aces. Read emphasized that the win was a team effort.  


“[Davis], defensively, dug a lot of balls,” he said. “[Montenegro] changed the flow, got the balls to who we needed to. [Combs] from the service line, serve-receive, and hitting outside, she did an exceptional job. We played three middles that did a good job blocking as well.”


In regards to maintaining  momentum, Cummings said there is not much that needs to be done. 


“We just need to keep pushing, keep working together like we are already,” she said. “As long as we keep doing what we’re doing, we got it.”


The Lions continue NEWMAC play with games against Springfield, Wellesley, and Babson in the coming days. 


“Now, it’s a matter of us executing, having a good game plan, and trusting ourselves,” Read said. “We play with confidence;, we have fun out there on the court.”