On Thursday, October 3, the women’s volleyball team took on top seeded conference opponent from last season, Notre Dame of Maryland. The Gators, who came in with a record of 12-2 and without a game yet played in the CSAC. The Phoenix were looking to give the Gators a loss for their first conference game. The Phoenix were eventually defeated by the Gators 3 nil with their scores of each set being 25-23, 27-25, and 25-14.
In the first set, the two teams went back and forth on a tear of scoring, with Notre Dame eventually going on a 9-1 run, taking a commanding 17-8 lead. The Phoenix came roaring back, though, and made a run of their own in which was 14-5 that tied the game up at 22 all. Though the Gators took control and won the first set, a fair and cheerful crowd applauded the fight of the Phoenix.
In the second set, the crowd got even more enthusiastic, and got more into the game as the Phoenix brought more of their energy into the set. Wilson jumped out on front 12-6 early in the first set, but the former conference champions responded with a run of their own to jump back in front 17-13 and would later take control to take the set.
In the final set, Notre Dame pulled away after the once again back and forth of the teams. Once knotted up at 7 apiece, the Phoenix showed a good fight but ended up falling up short in the last set.
Even though the Phoenix took a loss, it was a valued effort in which was appreciated in the crowd and left the feeling in the locker room a bit more positive than people may have thought.
“They could just finish faster than us tonight and sure we were down a player, but it didn’t really show tonight,” said Anika Eigen-Zucchi ’23. “We worked hard, and I am proud of us as a team.”
Eigen-Zucchi, who is just a freshman, is a crucial part of their team and steps up in a variety of ways. Another player who filled in a key role is junior, Sierra Hill.
“I think we gained a whole lot of confidence after the game and continuing to play as hard as we’ve been just making us work even harder game after game because we see our potential and how good we’re doing,” Hill ’21 mentioned. “Next time we’ll just come back even harder than before.”
With this game only being the second conference game of the year, the Phoenix were tested early on with a match they were not so sure about against a team with a lot of firepower. Not only did the Phoenix respond well, they set the tone for conference games and sent Notre Dame a message.
“The message sent will be to not underestimate us,” Tioleaoauli Posiulai said. “I think it opened up their eyes to see that it wouldn’t be an easy game.”
Madison Coy ‘22, another underrated player from the hard-fought game, ended up with three aces.
“Going into the game we didn’t have much confidence but as the game progressed, our confidence boosted,” Coy said. “I feel like other teams are more nervous now.”