The Utica College women’s volleyball team dropped two games in their Empire 8 double header Saturday. They took on Ithaca College who improved to 14-1 on the season and an Empire 8 leading 3-0 in conference play.
Ithaca would win the game in three straight sets, but would be tested by a relentless Pioneer bunch. Ithaca took the first set 25-16 and faced adversity in the second set as the Pioneers started out leading 3-0. The second set looked promising for Utica as they would battle to get a 24-23 score line, but gave up a spike to Ithaca for the win.
There was much of the same relentless play from the Pioneers in the third set as they would keep it close until the end. Ithaca proved to be too much as they took the third set 25-21. Junior Brandi Blaszak and freshman Hannah Voss each recorded seven kills to lead the pioneers. Fellow teammate Alexis Lyons would lead the defensive side with 18 digs.
In the second game of the day against Houghton the Utica women showed the same type of performance. They would put a tally in the win column but would fall to Houghton 3-1. The Utica College women were led by senior Lora Allen who had a career high 42 assists, Voss lead with 13 kills and Lyon once again kept her defensive prowess collecting 21 digs.
In each of the two games the Pioneers had strong showings losing several sets by only a couple points. With a team so close to turning it around with a few minor adjustments, head coach Aris Bird thought the team played competitively in both matches.
“Our team has improved tremendously and had a competitive showing going 4 or 5 games with other great programs,” Bird said. “We will continue to work on minimizing errors such as hitting, serve receive and digging as well as pushing to have an even stronger block.”
This was a tough start for the Pioneers volleyball team starting out 0-2 in conference play after this weekend. With only six more conference games remaining in the season Utica is going to have to get the ball rolling if they would like to make a run come playoff time.
Their upcoming match against a struggling Hartwick College who are 4-13, and 0-2 in conference play, will prove to be a good chance for Utica to get back on track in their conference.
“Ithaca and Houghton (who we just played) are generally in the top four of our conference. We played both teams extremely tough and I am proud of them,” Bird said. “Next up is Hartwick who we have typically been very similar to. It should be a great match. Following Hartwick will be Stevens who has been No. 1 in the conference more often than not.”