Volleyball looks to ‘Jam the Jake’ after BIG EAST losses on the road

Gabe Calvo

The volleyball team had a rough weekend in conference play, losing to both Butler and Xavier on the road. This puts the Wildcats in fifth place in the BIG EAST standings, down two places from their ranking last week.

The Wildcats began their road trip with a match at Butler’s Hinkle Fieldhouse on Friday, Oct. 27, in what was a valiant effort against a team that is 10-2 at home. The match went on to five sets, the maximum possible per NCAA rules.

Allie Olsonoski lead the team with a .400 hitting percentage. Remy Fairchild and Allie Loitz added to the offensive attack with 14 kills each. On the defensive end, Allison Fitzgerald’s 31 digs lead the Wildcats, who did what they could against a fierce Butler offense. Butler featured last week’s BIG EAST Player of the Week and Freshman of the Week in Bri Lilly and Natalie Ravenell.

After winning two of the match’s first three sets, all three of which were won by only two points, the Wildcats dropped the last two sets. The team was tough throughout, keeping the game consistently close and just barely losing to a competitive Butler squad. The match went for almost two-and-a-half hours.

The grueling schedule did not do the Wildcats any favors either, as they had to play the very next day at Xavier on Saturday. The match only went to four sets, as the Wildcats dropped three in a row after winning the first set.

Loitz and Amanda Pederson-Henry lead the team with 15 and 11 kills respectively. Pederson-Henry was the only one to hit .320 with as many as 25 attempts.

Even though losing the last three sets, the team stayed competitive to the end, forcing nine tie scores and four lead changes in the last set. This was in spite of playing for almost two hours on Saturday, in addition to the long game the day before and travelling from Indianapolis to Cincinnati in between.

The Wildcats’ displayed unrelenting resiliency in the face of a difficult road schedule and competitive teams. They are looking to bounce back in conference play this coming weekend. With games against Seton Hall on Friday, Nov. 3, and St. John’s the next day, the team has the perfect opportunity to do so. Seton Hall has recently moved one spot ahead of the Wildcats in the BIG EAST rankings, while St. John’s sits one spot below them. Needless to say, these games are crucial for the Wildcats to retake their higher place within the standings.

“Jam the Jake” kick off in Jake Nevin Field House at 7:00 p.m. on Friday where the first 100 attendees will win a free t-shirt.