Volleyball fends off La Roche for first win of 2019

Jackets salvage victory in last game before conference opener

First home game, first victory. That’s was the story Wednesday night for the Waynesburg University volleyball team. The Yellow Jackets came back  from 13-10 to win the fifth and deciding set, , 15-10, sealing the match victory three sets to two against La Roche.

“I knew we could do it the whole time,” head coach Hayley Kirby said. “Obviously, being down 13 to 10 wasn’t the ideal situation, but I knew we could do it the whole time.”

Waynesburg started the season 0-6. This was the final match before starting Presidents’ Athletic Conference play Saturday. For Kirby and her team, getting a win to end non-conference play was crucial.

“We played together as a team,” Kirby said. “We really needed that win as a team and I think where we needed it the most we all came together and pulled together.” 

The Jackets took the first set of the match, 25-20. La Roche responded with a dominant start in set two going up 24-13. Waynesburg came back and made it 24-22, before losing the next point and thus, the set.

Waynesburg and La Roche had an intense back and forth set third set. The Jackets came out on top in a win by two situation, 27-25. La Roche however would not back down and tied the sets at 2 a piece. The Red Hawks won set four, 25-18.

The final set was didn’t start promising for Waynesburg, down 11-6 and then 13-10. The Jackets fought hard, however, and came back to win the set and the match 15-13. 

“We need to play every game like we did today,” Kirby said. “Because every single one of us worked hard, even the ones who didn’t play, every single one of us worked hard and won this game for us.”

After the match, Kirby had high praise for her team, having lost much of her voice because of the excitement. 

“I think we needed this win to show us that we can do it,” Kirby said. “I think that we were starting to doubt ourselves since we didn’t start that great [this season], but this win helped us see that we can win.”

Waynesburg’s strategy against La Roche was simple; play hard on defense and attack the middle.

“Our strategy was to play our game,” Kirby said. “We are actually down a hitter, so we had to work our way around that, but they play a defense where the middle of the court is wide open and they leave the blockers on the side. So, when the block is open we swing towards the middle. That was our game plan.”

For Kirby, the win was a team effort and everyone “played amazingly.”  One person that stood out to her the most was sophomore libero Alyson Johnson. 

“She was all over the place,” said Kirby. “It’s awesome.”

The Jackets finished the non-conference part of their schedule, and will now prepare to start PAC play this Saturday in Pittsburgh against Geneva and Chatham. 

“If we play the way we did just now we are going to win a lot of games,” Kirby said.