By David F.P. [Modest Image Gallery]
HAMDEN, CT- While both the Delaware State and Quinnipiac had played a game earlier Saturday, the Hornets had done so up in Hartford and were now down in the shadow of the sleeping giant to take on QU in the unique environs of Kahn court and its cheering section. Renee Arnold’s Hornets were searching for their first win of the season against the Robin Sparks coached Bobcats. It would be a close one, but the visitors would pick up the 3-0 sweep to close out their appearance at Hartford and Quinnipiac’s tournament.
The Hornets opened up an early lead in part due to Jes Russell-Croucher’s two service aces. Quinnipiac got in on the scoring with a smash from Tierra Allen, and following a Taylor Payne service ace the two teams were tied at 6. QU too the lead in part because Allen crushed another attack, though Elisa Herrman served up an ace fro the Hornets as part of D-State working to build their own lead. The two teams fought to a 15-17 score before Quinnipiac called time. The Hornets had offense from many sources including Theresa Schieder, Russell-Croucher. Laisha Davis contributed two kills, including a play in which her team was scrambling fro a return, she received the ball and backhanded over the net only to have it land just in bounds, and later set the ball to the back gap. QU had picked up some of their points from Olivia Grattan punching a ball through the block attempt, and Brittanie Robinson whapped an attack just in bounds.
Herrman extended the Hornets lead as did a QU attack error, but two errors on the part of the Hornets and a smash from Robinson cut the lead to 1. DSU clung o the lead as Herrman had another kill, and Davis a block. Christobel Fakaosi leapt into the air and whacked another spike over.
It was around this point that Quinnipiac’s cheering section opened up with a “Let’s Go Bobcats” cheer and the DSU players on the sidelines responded with their own “Let’s Go Hornets” chant, a rare exchange between fans and the teams on the court.
QU went on a run led by a Grattan kill, another ace from Taylor Payne who bounced the ball off the net and dropped it in, and another point would follow. DSU called a time out to discuss their 23-22 lead, and emerged with a kill by Brooke Redmon and she and Russell-Croucher shared a block to end set 1, 25-22.
On to set 2 the two teams went with the Bobcats pulling out to a lead but Delaware State fighting back to a 14-14 tie. QU’s points included Robinson’s service ace, an effective set of the net by Kayla Lawler, a kill from Allen, a service ace from Tracy Wright, and later some chicanery as QU pulled off a fake attack which let Allen send a kill in. The Hornets snagged points in part from Davis picking up a block, Herrman also managing a block and a tap attack from Russell-Croucher, before Brooke Redmon tied the set with a wallop in.
The time out didn’t stop the Delaware State attack as they rolled to a 19-14 lead including another kill from Russell-Croucher. QU took advantage of some errors and a kill from Kelby Carey to cut the lead again, though a kill from Herrmann and a massive blast from Russell-Croucher kept regained the four point advantage for the Hornets.
The Bobcats kept fighting and Grattan picked up a kill, and the two teams traded some various errors, following a very long back and forth the Bobcats picked up another point and two would follow to tie it up at 23. Davis and Herrmann shut down the come back with a block, and Davis would then join with Fakaosi on a block to end the set 25-23.
On to set 3 the teams went with the two teams in a fairly even slug fest all the way to a 16-16 tie. For the Hornets offense included Davis setting the ball to the back gap, Russell-Croucher tapping the ball over the front line, a kill through the blocking line by Schieder. Russell-Croucher added a rocket, and Davis knocked the the ball of a Bobcat and out of bounds. Redmon and Herrman teamed up on a block, and Redmon crushed an attack.
QU points came in part from a block from Tanner Celestin, multiple kills from Allen, a kill later from Celestin, and two kills from Robinson including one that sailed far out of play after it hit a Hornet. Schieder launched a rocket to take the lead, and Sonja Banicevic served up an ace for a two point DSU advantage. Robinson responded and eventually Celestin tied up the game with a tap over the front blockers to a gap in the defense. Allen then blasted the ball over the net with a huge spike to take the lead. The Hornets snagged three quick points in return though and QU was down again. The two teams traded more points bringing the score to 22-24. With the set and match on the line, Allen rocketed another kill to a corner, but Redmon ended the match with a kill of her own 25-23.
Delaware State grabbed their first win of the season and QU would have to get ready for Sunday’s match against Hartford up in Hawks territory.
Editor’s Note: This is based on notes taken at the match, normally verified against the official play by play if possible. Reports focus on offense since it is easier to track but note defensive play whenever possible. It is difficult to note things like digs and assists although they are no doubt vital to the game. Also, a lot happens in a volleyball game, far more than can fit into a report, so this just notes some of it.