WRITTEN BY GREG ALCALA
In the final game of the St. Francis Terriers 2014 Women’s Volleyball Invitational, the Terriers lost in straight sets to the Manhattan Jaspers, 13-25, 11-25, 22-25.
The Terriers overall regular season record declined to (2-6), while the Jaspers improved to (6-1) on the season.
Any momentum that the Terriers gained in winning the second game of their double-header on Friday September 5th, against the New Jersey Institute of Technology (3-0) was quickly extinguished the moment the clock struck 4pm, when the Terriers and Jaspers positioned themselves for the contest.
The Jaspers entered this afternoon’s match with a (5-1) record in their regular season campaign and displayed why they departed from the Terriers Invitational now (6-1), previously stated, going 2-1 this weekend.
The Jaspers dominated the first set from the opening serve, scoring the first five points of the match, taking an early 5-0 advantage.
The Terriers attempted to string points together to reduce the early deficit but it seemed as though any progression the Terriers took, Manhattan had an answer to counter.
A kill by Terriers outside hitter Saleesha Matthews, which gave the home-team their fifth point, down 5-10, was absorbed well by the Jaspers. They failed to crumble and relinquish their lead, responded with a barrage of points (5 straight) led by Jaspers middle blocker Marissa Behrens spearheading the sequence of events in which the Jaspers ultimately took a 15-5 lead.
With that ten-point cushion, the Jaspers eventually took the first set 25-13.
More of the same story continued in the second set where the Jaspers enjoyed an offensive clinic.
A service error by Jaspers setter, Teodora Peric, was a gift delivered to the Terriers where they sacrificed the first point of the match, but was retorted by the Jaspers scoring four straight points, taking a 4-1 advantage.
The Terriers tied the score at 4-4 all, courtesy of an attack error by Jaspers outside hitter Malia McGuinness via serve by Terriers own middle hitter Niehely Sosa, which didn’t bode well with the Jaspers as they embarked on an 8-0 run, highlighted by opposite Sydney Volovski, Behrens and outside hitter Claire Van Dyke, who all contributed a total of four kills which helped the Jaspers orchestrate a commanding 12-4 lead.
The Terriers struggled containing the Jaspers and ultimately took a 0-2 hole into the third set.
It is extremely difficult to comeback from being two sets down in a volleyball match, although the Terriers exhibited their best efforts of the contest in the third set, but didn’t prevail.
During the third set the Terriers showed fight and determination to get back into the thick of things with leads of 9-6 and 14-8, but it didn’t matter what the Terriers were capable of doing offensively, the Jaspers had their way and in an uphill, back-to-back, blow-for-blow set, the Jaspers outlasted the Terriers by a hair seizing the final set 25-22.
If you are a Jaspers fan, you enjoyed todays commanding performance opposed to the Terrier fans that know more work has to be done.
Sophomore outside hitter Domenique Gerard led the Terriers with eight kills while junior setter Kelly O’Hanrahan provided 15 assists.
The Terriers have three days to rest and recharge their batteries until their campaign, which points them in the direction of Easton Pennsylvania where they will visit Lafayette College on September 10, with the prime objective of returning to the winning side of the margin.
The season is still young but the road gets tougher.
After the road trip to PA, the Terriers will return home to the state of New York to participate in the St. Johns Classic, beginning the September 12, where they will match-up against the likes of Fresno State University, the University of New Hampshire, St. John’s University and Dartmouth College, four teams who have a combined regular season record of 12-7.
A win against Lafayette will definitely give the Terriers the confidence they desire as they enter an Invitational that could make-or-break their young season.