VOLLEYBALL: Eagles Downed On Senior Day
Published: Sunday, November 4, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
The Boston College volleyball team (10-16, 4-10 ACC) held its Senior Day match on Sunday afternoon in Power Gym. Its opponent, Wake Forest (9-17, 3-11), came closely matched with the Eagles both in ACC wins and overall records, though they had a track record of struggling away from home. That was not the case on Sunday, however, as a strong offensive performance propelled the Demon Deacons past a shaky BC defense to win the match 3-1.
The day started a little earlier than usual for the Eagles, as the team helped put on a celebratory breakfast in order to acknowledge the accomplishments of their two seniors, Val Mattaliano and Krystle Higgins, in order to keep the in-match focus on their competitive opponent.
“You’re always making decisions based on what gives you the best chance to win,” said head coach Chris Campbell in regard to the Senior Day rituals. “Senior Day is an opportunity to recognize our seniors’ extraordinary contributions, and [with the breakfast] as a team we were able to express our gratitude for everything that they’ve brought.”
Before the beginning of play, the attendees of Power Gym took a couple minutes to honor the BC and Wake Forest seniors, but from there it was down to business.
The first set started out slowly for the eagles. Strong runs from the Demon Deacons put them at an early advantage as they jumped out to a 12-5 lead to start the set. The combination of a strong Wake Forest offense paired with shaky defense from the Eagles fed the early deficit. BC kept fighting, but made little headway against a substantial Wake Forest lead until Campbell took his second timeout of the set at 18-11 and had a one on one lead with sophomore leader Courtney Castle.
“Courtney has shown in the past year and a half that she’s capable of a high level of play,” Campbell said after the match. “It takes a pretty amped up level of emotion for her to be that successful, but when she gets in that zone, she’s capable of competing with anybody.”
After the timeout, Castle and the rest of the Eagles came out with revived energy. BC took 11 of the 15 following points, reigning in the Demon Deacons to tie the game at 22-22. The set remained close, going into extra points, but eventually Wake Forest was able to capitalize on its early set efforts and managed to close out the first set winning 28-26.
The Eagles hit the court with renewed energy after their near first-set comeback, fighting hard to take an early lead in the second. BC took eight of the first 10 points, minimizing their errors and challenging Wake Forest to earn their points with clean play. By keeping the ball in play with consistent offense and defense, the Eagles were able to play the controlled, efficient style of volleyball that they hope for.
Riding on their success from the second set, the Eagles started the third in a tight, back and forth battle with Wake Forest. Toward the middle of the set, however the Demon Deacon offense froze the Eagle defense in its tracks as it put on two sizable runs, one of five points and one 10-1 run to make it 21-11. The error ridden Eagles team struggled to find its footing. At times like that, volleyball becomes a mental game.
“We’re still a young team, and it’s really tough to play from behind,” Campbell said. “When you’re a few points down, there’s that pressure that you’ve got to side out, you’ve got to score. We fell behind early, and once you’re behind, it builds on you.” Wake Forest finished out the set with a 25-13 win.
The mental side of the game was still prevalent as BC moved into the fourth set. Hoping to reset after the tough loss, BC put its strongest efforts on the court to start the set, but seemed to lose its energy quickly as the defense faltered again. The fourth set was more evenly matched than the third, with the Eagles holding on and not giving up a large lead. Yet once again Wake Forest came out on top, finishing the set 25-21 to win the match 3-1.
Although it was a tough loss, the team is always looking for ways to improve.
“We need to be competing more in practice to give them that experience,” Campbell said. “It’s not a technical or tactical issue at this point. We’ve made the plays before, we just need to make them at the right time under pressure.”