By ASHLEY BRUCE
The University of Mary Washington volleyball team lost three straight matches at the Christopher Newport University Invitational last Friday and Saturday, Oct. 7 and Oct. 8. The losses continued a rough stretch for the Eagles, who have now lost six of their last eight matches after starting the season 12-1.
“We are in a little funk,” Head Coach Dee Conway said. “All these things can be fixed. We just need work. We know what to get done; we just have to work on our confidence a little bit.”
The Eagles first played Salisbury University on Friday, Oct. 7, and fell 1-3 to the Sea Gulls with set scores of 25-18, 25-20, 25-27, 25-23. Senior Katie Shiflett and sophomore Kaitlynn Wickersham had the most impressive performances for the Eagles in the loss. Shiflett had 34 assists and 16 digs while Wickersham added 11 kills and 16 digs. Junior Karissa Herrick had eight kills and led the team with nine blocks.
The next match UMW played was against Juniata College. The Eagles fell 0-3 with set scores of 24-22, 25-12, 25-17. Wickersham and Shiflett again led the Eagles, as Wickersham had three aces, six kills, and 12 digs. Shiflett chipped in with 15 assists and five digs, and sophomore Emily Shea had a team-high 22 digs.
The last match in the road invitational was a loss to host CNU, 0-3. The set scores were 25-15, 25-16, 25-11. Wickersham scored six kills and 11 digs, while Karissa Herrick had six kills and three blocks. Shea was again pivotal to the Eagles defense, adding another 16 digs to give her 59 for the weekend.
The CNU Invitational didn’t go as the Eagles had planned, and senior Tola Adebanjo said she sees a couple areas that could use improvement.
“I think as a team we could have communicated better and executed our offense more consistently,” Adebanjo said. “We are working through a lot of our tendencies that teams have picked up on and working to get our offense more effective and our defense back up to speed.”
The Eagles had a pivotal road game last night against Capital Athletic Conference opponent Frostburg State University, but the game ended too late for results to be included in this issue. Despite their recent slide, UMW is still 4-1 in CAC play and tied with Stevenson University for second place in the conference.
“I think our team knows how important CAC matches are to what we are trying to accomplish as a program,” Adebanjo said.
The Eagles will compete in the California Lutheran Tournament this weekend, where seven other teams besides Mary Washington and the host Regals will compete, including Rhodes College and the University of Redlands.