Volleyball can’t close door on Chatham, still winless in PAC play

The Waynesburg University volleyball team was on the brink of its first conference win before blowing a 2-0 lead in a 3-2 loss to Chatham Thursday night at the Rudy Marisa Fieldhouse.

The Yellow Jackets lost their last matchup in September against Chatham, 3-0. Coming into this matchup, head coach Haley Kirby had her team prepared.

“We knew what spots were open on their court, their deep corners and middle were open,” Kirby said.

Thursday’s matchup appeared to be different at first. Waynesburg took an early and commanding 2-0 set lead. Waynesburg outscored the Cougars 50-37 through those first two sets..

In the previous matchup, junior middle hitter Haley Pelini was out with an injury. Kirby said having her back on the court has helped tremendously.

“Having her back this time really helped us a lot,” Kirby said. “She was aggressive on her swings and put balls in the right places,”.

From the start of the third set, however, Chatham was energized and in control. A huge increase in hit percentage fueled Chatham to spark its comeback. The Cougars won set three, 25-18 and set up a chain of events that unfortunately led to Waynesburg’s 20th overall loss and conference loss number 12.

Chatham went on to win the fourth set, forcing the fifth and final set of the match. Kirby said the team simply didn’t finish, and thus allowed the match to go down to the wire.

“We played really hard in the first two sets,” she said. “We worked hard in the third  and fourth, but [we] just didn’t push it as hard as we should’ve.”

Too many self-inflicted errors hurt the Jackets in the fourth set, leading them to a do or die situation.

Sophomore Alyson Johnson identified the problem in the middle sets as a lack of communication and energy.

“I think our communication and our energy was down so that kind of put us back,” Johnson said. 

The fifth set was as close as it could get. In a race to 15 points, needing to win by at least two, Chatham came out victorious with a 16-14 win. With that win, Chatham gets its third win in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference. On the other hand, Waynesburg continues to suffer, adding its twelfth PAC loss to go alongside zero wins. Waynesburg junior outside hitter Hannah Colvin led all players with 18 kills, giving her a new season high.

The Jackets look to end their PAC winless streak Saturday versus the Grove City Wolverines at 1 p.m.. Waynesburg is currently in last, while Grove City sits in sixth place in the conference.