BY ERIN MADDEN
The Lady Barons pulled out a close conference match against Medaille College in front of a large homecoming weekend crowd, winning in four sets 24-26, 25-20, 25-19 and 25-23.
“The big crowd is awesome, and I will take the big crowd any day,” Head Coach Kelly Hermann said. “For my girls that tend to be a little nervous, I think in that first game the crowd kind of got to them a little bit. They definitely played better as the match went on.”
The large crowd was able to rally the Lady Barons during a third set when they were down by eight points, their largest deficit of the match. Hermann called a time out at 6-14 and was able to inspire the team to go on a 17-3 run.
“I’m always trying to encourage them,” Hermann said about the team’s attitude during that time out. “I told them to have fun, that they play better when they are having fun. Today, it was all about being more aggressive offensively.”
Displaying an aggressive attitude throughout the match was junior outside hitter Dani Link. Hermann said there was a point in the match where Link was blocked for a few kills in a row, but she did not let that affect her attitude. Link instead changed her hitting approach after being blocked a few times.
“Hitting is not always ability. Sometimes hitting is intelligence and making the right shot,” Hermann said. “It’s that kind of offensive balance with being able to dig balls and play defense. Dani is our best all-around outside hitter in terms of hitting hard and playing defense.”
Hermann also displayed some confidence with some of her freshmen, bringing in outside hitter Ave Palguta during a close first set to help out the Lady Barons’ offense.
“Ave’s strength is hitting the ball hard, and she very seldom gets blocked. She puts the ball through the block a lot of times,” Hermann said. “We are kind of trying different things with outside hitters. It’s really cool that we have so many options, but today, we felt like Ave was the answer.”
The Lady Barons will continue to build their confidence during conference play on the road against La Roche College October 8 at 7 pm.