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Volleyball falls to 1-27; NEC hopes still alive
The Quinnipiac volleyball team suffered a 3-0 loss to Lafayette last Wednesday night in Easton, Pa., despite sophomore Crista Valentino setting a new career-high with a .400 hitting percentage.
For the second time this season Valentino posted the best hitting percentage of her Quinnipiac career. Her previous high was .294, a percentage she set against the New Jersey Institute of Technology on Oct. 3. Quinnipiac volleyball head coach Sue Medley was encouraged by Valentino’s career showing.
“I was pleased with her performance,” Medley said. “We worked the last ten days looking to generate more offense from the left side and Crista did that for us tonight.”
The Bobcats received contributions from a wide range of players. Senior Ashley Angle led the squad with eight kills, while junior Ashley Phillips had a team-high 17 assists.
Defensively, Quinnipiac also had some strong moments. Sophomore Jenna Benigno recorded two blocks and 15 assists. The team leader in digs was fellow sophomore Erin Overdevest with 17. Medley praised the production Overdevest brought to the backcourt.
“She has put together three solid games in a row and developed into a quality backcourt player for us,” said Medley.
Lafayette controlled the first set of the match and easily took it 30-19, but the second set was a different story. The Bobcats had several opportunities to seize control and tie the match up at one set apiece. Quinnipiac led during the set on four different occasions. The Bobcats took 2-0, 4-3, 5-4, and 6-5 leads but lost them each time. After the ‘Cats took their final lead of 6-5, the Leopards scored six straight points and cruised to a 30-20 set victory.
Just like the second set, the Bobcats stayed close for most of the third. Late in the set, a Conde kill set followed by a Lafayette ball-handling error cut the Leopards lead to 22-20. Once again the Leopards went on a point-scoring streak, this time tallying five straight points. Lafayette eventually took the set and the match with a 30-21 victory.
Even though Quinnipiac was able to stay close and make some strides during this match, the team also hurt itself. Medley sees the improvement in her squad, but ultimately emphasized that the 22 unforced errors her team committed didn’t bring anything positive.
“Heading into the match, one of our goals was to improve our team hitting percentage, which at times we did well tonight,” Medley said. “But again, where our struggle came was with our unforced errors. It just came down to unforced errors.”
Quinnipiac lost 3-0 to both St. Francis (Pa.) and Robert Morris over the weekend to fall to 1-5 in the NEC and 1-27 overall. The Bobcats are tied for seventh place in the conference with their final two NEC contests this weekend at home. The top six teams in the NEC qualify for the postseason tournament. The ‘Cats have qualified for the tournament for eight straight years.