BY MATT MERKEL
Recently we saw the Lady Barons Volleyball team fundraise to raise money for breast cancer research and promote awareness in front of a crowd of over 400 people. Not only is that an amazing accomplishment but it also did something else. It created a by-product without even trying. It raised awareness that our school has a pretty incredible volleyball team.
Those of you who have been regularly attending the matches realize that this is hardly news. Our team is pretty dominant and will only get more dangerous as the years go on, seeing that nearly all of our team is made up of freshman and sophomores. Head Coach Kelly Herrmann has done an excellent job of taking a group of girls that are playing together for the first time and molding them to look like they are three-year vets in D-III competition. Herrmann will tell you all day long that she has the best job because of the maturity of her girls and their resiliency during games, but I am here to tell you that not just anybody could make a winning team out of underclassmen.
Getting back on topic, the Lady Barons are now 3-1 in Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference play and have been looking stronger as the season has progressed. Attendance has been growing along with the results with the goofy Men’s Soccer team leading chants and miming different scenarios during timeouts. They do anything from riding bikes made out of three people to cooking a breakfast that even Farmer John would appreciate. Stuff like that has kept the fans at the game until the very end.
What is so great and unique about the sport of volleyball is that each match is divided into five games. Which ever team wins three first wins the match. Winning a game requires that you get 25 points before the other team winning by at least two points. The reason this is so important is because you can get blown out of the water in one game and then start from scratch and win the next game. This actually happened to Franciscan. They lost their third game 25-2 – that’s right, T-W-O – and still came back to win three matches to two against Carlow University.
Another dramatic difference with volleyball is that each team has 25 points to earn and 25 points to lose. Do not make a mistake on the court because it will give your opponent a point. Consistency and mental awareness are key in volleyball because you can shoot yourself in the foot just by making mental mistakes.
Now for anyone out there who has yet to go to a volleyball match I am giving you some homework. Get out there and support your Lady Barons. I promise you will have an amazing time. I have gone ahead and put a few key terms at the bottom of this column for any new audience members who want to enjoy the game better and sound slightly more intelligent as they watch the match. Enjoy!
Dig: A defensive pass usually played from close to the ground on your forearms to stop the ball hitting the ground, normally following a spike or serve from your opponents
Set: Putting the ball high in the air, usually on the second of the team’s three permitted touches, to enable a teammate to spike it
Spike: To smash the ball ‘over arm’ into your opponent’s court
Block: Preventing an attacking ball from your opponents from coming over the net by forming a ‘wall’ of hands at the net
Ace: When the ball is served to the other team and none of your opponents touch it
Wipe: To knock the ball off an opposing block so it lands out of bounds