Friday, March 6, the Waynesburg University Women’s Volleyball team (1-4, 1-2) dropped a five set match in Steubenville, OH to Franciscan University (1-1). After taking the first two sets 25-20 and 31-29, respectively, the Yellow Jackets dropped the final three contentious sets to the Barons.
Emily Taylor, head volleyball coach at Waynesburg University, said the key to the team’s early success was sticking to the game plan.
“I watch film and write a detailed scouting report, but I also have the team watch film and then we talk about what they’ve seen in addition to my report,” Taylor said. “We had a plan of attack and they stuck to it and it paid off.”
Senior right side/opposite hitter Mya Brooks led the Yellow Jackets with 15 kills in the match. Brooks felt that Waynesburg’s serves helped to give them the early two-set advantage.
“We had a lot of tough serves,” Brooks said. “I felt we were communicating well in the first two sets but then it kind of dwindled after we won those two.”
Taylor said Brooks played a key role in keeping the match close and giving the Jackets a chance to win.
“Mya loves to compete; she loves to put the ball down and brings so much energy to the court,” Taylor said. “She took some big swings at key points in the match which gave us the ball back and kept us alive.”
Brooks credits her play this year to making a connection with freshman setter Trysten Smith.
“We made a switch after our first game of me and her being together,” Brooks said. “We just click. She puts the ball right where I need it.”
Despite the loss, Brooks feels the team is in a good place moving forward with the season.
“We can definitely compete,” Brooks said. “I feel like we definitely played our hearts out. The matches were very close. We have a lot of heart, we were supportive of each other. I just feel like we need to finish points; it’s like a learning curve for us. If we are up two sets to zero we have to put the ball down quicker.”
Taylor’s message to the team after the match was to feel the emotion that comes with a hard-fought loss.
“I also told them to use it as fuel to dial in and get better this upcoming week as we prepare for our next opponent, Grove City,” Taylor said.
After the conclusion of the first match, both coaches agreed to play a three-set match that would not count towards either team’s official records in place of the second scheduled five-set match.
Taylor said this decision was made in the best interest of her team coming off a taxing week and a long first match.
“As a coach it’s important to know your athletes and when to rest their bodies,” Taylor said. “I felt that a little extra rest by not playing a best of five match was the best decision.”
Waynesburg went on to win the unofficial second match in two sets. Taylor said the team playing with no pressure was the biggest difference.
“They were out there having fun, not afraid to make mistakes, and it really showed,” Taylor said. “We were able to mix a few new faces into the line up as well.”
Waynesburg returned home to the Rudy Marisa Fieldhouse March 11 to take on Grove City in a PAC double-header.