The last time that the Waynesburg University volleyball team started its season 1-0 was back in 2018, when the Yellow Jackets defeated Allegheny College 3-2.
On Wednesday night, however, a fan-filled Rudy Marisa Fieldhouse witnessed a 3-0 home-opening sweep over the La Roche University RedHawks.
Waynesburg took each set by scores of 25-22, 25-12, and 25-23.
“That’s the first time my team that I’ve been coaching here has led all three sets and hasn’t let up,” Waynesburg head coach Emily Taylor said. “That’s something we’ve been really focusing on.”
In Taylor’s first (and shortened) season with the Yellow Jackets in the Spring of 2021, the team finished 2-6 in conference play and 2-10 overall, which was sufficient for the seventh spot in the conference standings.
Waynesburg graduated two senior leaders in Alexis Phillips and Hannah Colvin from last season, but with the addition of seven freshmen to the roster, Taylor decided to put them to use on Wednesday night.
Freshman outside hitter Makayla Osborn made her impact right away for the Yellow Jackets. When they found themselves down 7-6 in the first set, services from Osborne propelled Waynesburg to obtain eight straight points, which made the score 14-7, which then turned into a win for the set.
“She loves to play for her teammates,” Taylor said. “She’s truly a selfless player, and that’s all you can ask of your team.”
Osborne’s kills (eight) and aces (three) were both category leaders for the game amongst both teams.
Osborn credited the dominant second set to the energy of not only her team, but also the energy of the crowd that was present at the fieldhouse.
“Volleyball is a game of momentum, and the crowd can change that in a moment’s notice,” Osborn said.
Four out of the five major statistical categories were led by Waynesburg Freshmen. While Osborne led in aces and kills, freshman middle blocker Emma Hyatt contributed two blocks, and freshman setter Hayley Dufala put up 10 assists for the Yellow Jackets.
On the other hand, Waynesburg combined for 15 service errors, which Taylor alluded to as a much-needed area for improvement.
For La Roche, junior setter Cassidy Rossi, freshman middle hitter Quinn Hughes, and sophomore middle hitter Rory McCune all contributed four kills apiece for the Red Hawks. Senior libero Sydney Herzer had a game-high 18 digs.
The next stop for Waynesburg is the Saint Vincent Bearcat Challenge. The first game of the tournament for the Yellow Jackets is against the Allegheny College Gators.