Waynesburg volleyball falls at home to W&J in three sets

The Waynesburg University volleyball team returned home Thursday night to face the Washington & Jefferson Presidents. In the first-ever volleyball broadcast on the Waynesburg University Sports Network, the Yellow Jackets came up short in each set and were swept 3-0.

Waynesburg (2-13) battled tough with W&J (8-4) throughout the entirety of the match but could not earn the necessary points down the stretch to record a set victory.

The team lost 25-22 in the first set as both teams traded points. Waynesburg cleaned up its hitting errors from previous matches with nine kills compared to only three hitting errors. 

W&J’s victory set the tone for what was to come in the following two sets. Despite the lack of variety in scoring differential, the Jackets found themselves down by greater margins than their first time on the court.

Waynesburg fell 25-15 as the Presidents recorded a match-high 15 kills in the set. 

The third set mirrored the second. Waynesburg kept pace with W&J for a short time but was outmatched by the set’s midpoint, handing the visitors 10 free points through hitting 10 hitting errors.

Waynesburg was defeated 25-17 in the final set at the Rudy Marisa Fieldhouse and dropped its seventh match in a row. 

Junior Mickayla Baniaga was the most impactful offensive contributor at the net as Waynesburg changed the lineup around entering Thursday. 

“I thought we played pretty good but I think we could have been better,” Baniaga said. “We did have a lot of fight tonight but I think we still have a lot to work on.”

Head coach Emily Grossman was impressed with freshman setter Riley Ruffley during the week and wanted to give her an opportunity in the lineup.

“I liked the lineup change,” Grossman said. “I think it took us longer than I would have liked to play through and be confident with it. We didn’t run that yesterday in practice that was a spur-of-the-moment thing that I felt gave us a bigger block having two right-side hitters in all the time instead of having setting play front row.”

Baniaga, 5-foot-1, totaled a team-high nine kills and picked up 15 digs. 

“I think just keeping my eyes up and knowing that if I do hit it into the block I have to put it up a little higher,” Baniaga said. 

Junior Trysten Smith led the Jackets with 10 assists and was joined by freshman Riley Ruffley’s nine passes. Sophomore Paige Cousley added 19 digs to pace all Waynesburg defenders. 

W&J freshman Faith Fetsko led all players with a match-high 12 kills. The Presidents controlled the match once they gained a sustainable lead and never kept the door open for Waynesburg to break through.

The Yellow Jackets return to the court Saturday afternoon at Allegheny. The match begins at 1 p.m. and is the first official conference match of the 2022 season. 

“We’re trying to prepare all our puzzle pieces together to make sure we’re ready for Saturday,” Baniaga said.

Grossman mentioned serve receive and keeping balls out of the next as important areas to improve on.

“We’re building every day,” Grossman said. “We played scrappy volleyball it just wasn’t consistent enough.”