Saturday afternoon in Sharon, Pennsylvania, the Waynesburg University volleyball team snapped a 10-match losing streak with a win against Penn State Shenango.
The Jackets [3-18, 0-10] won the non-conference match in straight sets, 3-0, picking up their third win of the season. All three sets had similar scores with the Jackets taking the first set, 25-16. Waynesburg was strong in the second set winning 25-17, before bookending the match with a 25-16 win in the third set.
It was the Jackets first win since a 3-2 triumph Sep. 17 at Pitt-Greensburg. The team is still looking for a victory in Presidents’ Athletic Conference play. Saturday’s win over the Lions was also the first match win in straight sets for Waynesburg in more than three years, with the last 3-0 win dating back to Sept. 23, 2016 against La Roche College.
Good communication was a key reason for the win, and something the Jackets focused on in Sunday’s match, head coach Hayley Kirby said.
“We really worked a lot on our communication today,” Kirby said. “That’s something we’ve struggled with this season.”
Although communication was a focal point, that wasn’t the only takeaway from the match. The Jackets were able to play at their level, which has been another aspect of the game Kirby has preached as important throughout the season.
“We really played together as a team and we stayed at our level of play,” Kirby said.
Two players who impressed Saturday were Mya Brooks and Alyson Johnson, both of which have taken on larger roles as the season has progressed.
“Mya Brooks has really stepped up recently, and Alyson Johnson, our libero has really done a great job for us all season,” Kirby said.
Johnson has posted 10 or more digs multiple times this season, but Kirby felt her impact goes beyond the stat line.
“She kind of had a few games that she was still getting double digit digs, but it wasn’t really her best play and I think today she got back to it,” Kirby said. “She was going for everything and really stood out to me today.”
The Jackets played a total of five games during the campus-wide fall break, going 1-4 overall, and 0-4 in Presidents Athletic Conference play.
Waynesburg’s next match is at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Thiel. It’s the second match of the season against the Tomcats, who won 3-0 at the Rudy Marisa Fieldhouse back Sept. 28.
With six more chances to get a PAC win this season, Kirby talked about one more step the Jackets need to take to make it happen, and it’s something Waynesburg had trouble with on two occasions in the last week.
“Working on finishing games strong,” Kirby said. “[And] playing till the very last point, especially against Westminster and Geneva, when it gets to the final points of the game, we kind of just stop.”