Sweep or be swept, Lions caught in the middle

by Alanna Grady / Beacon Staff • October 4, 2012

Katrice ally
Kat Rice practices blocking, a vital part of her game.
Kat Rice practices blocking, a vital part of her game.

The Emerson women’s volleyball team struggled to find a rhythm throughout two games on Saturday, as its players adjusted to the unknown playing styles of Eastern Nazarene College and Wellesley College.

Emerson opened up the doubleheader with a sweep of Eastern Nazarene, a member of the Commonwealth Coast Conference. According to sophomore middle blocker Kat Rice, her team headed off the day of the matches with a strong start.

“I think everything was just working that game,” Rice said. “We had good chemistry and high energy.”

Though the Lions swept their opponents, they won the second set by a margin of only two points.

“I think we got a little too comfortable with how we were playing and tried coasting through the set,” said Rice, who led the team with 10 kills. “But Eastern Nazarene took advantage of that and scored more points.”

Between games, Rice said that head coach Ben Read readied the team with information of Wellesley’s strengths.

“Our team talked about how we knew we were going to have to play way better than we just did to keep up with Wellesley,” she said. “Our coach prepared us on their best players and where they usually hit, so we came into the game with some knowledge.”

With Jamie Morgan’s 22 digs, and Juliana Tucker’s 26 aces, the Lions were able to make each set closer than the last, but it was Wellesley that claimed victory in the end. The Blue increased its record in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference to 5-0. They are 17-1 on the season.

Though Emerson made adjustments, Rice said that Wellesley’s blocking and overall strength made it a tough opponent.

“We switched where our blockers and passers were lined up to try to better defend against the big hitters,” she said. “They are just a good team all around. They have strong hitters and consistent passing that allowed them to run their offense.”

Emerson is currently 10-9, with a 4-0 record in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference after last night’s win over Lasell.

Looking forward to games against GNAC members Rivier College and Emmanuel College on Oct. 8, Rice said theplayers need to focus on themselves rather than their opponents.

“Our team just needs to keep our intensity and energy up no matter who we’re playing or what the score is,” Rice said. “I think that will really help us with the rest of the season.”