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  • Writer's pictureELLIOT POTOTSKY

Women’s volleyball championship push cut short by Wildcats

Junior Juliana Medina plays a ball against Elms College in the GNAC quarterfinals. Photo by Joe Giacco

The Women’s Volleyball team entered the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) post-season with high hopes as the number three seed with an 18-13 record. They fell short in the semifinals, losing to Johnson and Wales 3-1.

In the quarterfinals, the Lasers matched up against the sixth-seeded Elms College Blazers. During the first set, the Lasers led 18-9, but a 10-1 run evened up the game at 19. After a back-and-forth duel that left both teams with 22 points, the Lasers won three straight points, winning 25-22.

The Lasers’ lead reached 7-0 in the second set, but after losing focus, the Blazers clawed back and trailed by only two points. First-year libero Maddie Carro stepped up on the defensive end, slowing down former GNAC player of the week Jaylianne Ramos Figueroa. The Lasers secured the second-set victory 25-20.

Sophomore middle blockers Juliana Medini and Madylyn Scully made an impact in the third set. Both teams were exchanging points, but the Lasers managed to pull away and take the third set 25-17, sending them to the GNAC semifinals.

On Nov. 3, the Lasers faced the Johnson & Wales Wildcats. Both teams came out with championship intentions. Unfortunately for the Lasers, a 5-0 run by the Wildcats allowed them to steal the first set.

First-year Saige Cambonga-Meyers sets the ball to sophomore middle blocker Juliana Medina in the Lasers’ opening match against Elms College. Photo by Joe Giacco

The second set was a different story. The Lasers cruised past the Wildcats 25-9, but the momentum quickly shifted in the third set as the Lasers were unable to stop the Wildcats. Falling behind two sets to one, the Lasers needed someone to pick them up to get back into the game.

Sophomore outside hitter Camila Lopez, named to the all-tournament team, finished with ten kills, eight digs, three service aces, and three block assists, but it was not enough to lift the Lasers, who watched the Wildcats dominate the final set.

The 3-1 loss ended a hard-fought season for Head Coach Jeff Vautrin’s squad led by captains Tori Scambray, Isabelle Babcock, and Madalyn Scully, who expressed their emotions around the team’s defeat.

“[We] will always remember that exact feeling of how it felt to throw it all away,” Scully said. “It adds fuel to fire [for] when we train in the offseason.”

Babcock was optimistic about the team’s future, highlighting the Lasers’ youth and stating the starting lineup will remain the same.

“We’re just going to get better,” Babcock said. Scully adds there was a drastic difference between the team at the beginning of the year and the end, noting the Lasers got better as players and closer as teammates.

“[There is] a lot to look forward to in the next couple of years,” Scully said.


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