SYLVANIA, Ohio – The Lady Baron Volleyball team of Franciscan University played four consecutive matches at the Lourdes College Tournament this Saturday. Though the Lady Barons fell 0-4 overall in the tournament, they were a competitive presence throughout the games making the opposition earn each win. They now stand 4-9 overall on the season.
For their first match of the tournament, the Lady Barons went up against the Robert Morris University Lady Colonials. Losing in three games: 25-13, 25-21, 25-12, Franciscan had an impressive rally during the second game and lost only by a narrow margin. Meg Kay led the Lady Barons with 10 kills, with Grace Burnham lending eight assists. Nicole Henson had 8 digs.
"We started slow," head coach Kelly Herrmann commented, "and we can't afford to come out slow against a good team who has solid offensive pressure."
Coming straight from their first match into a second match against the University of Michigan-Dearborn, Lady Barons went five games fighting hard for a victory. After a valiant struggle, Franciscan won games two and four: 25-20, 25-20, but lost the other three: 25-11, 25-14, 15-9. With nine players on the stats for kills, Meg Kay again led Franciscan with 12. Grace and Mary Burnham added 13 and 12 assists, respectively, while Nicole Henson added her defensive edge with 17 digs, followed by Mary Burnham and Julie Matanzo with eight digs a piece.
"It was great to see our defense improve throughout the day," said Herrmann. "Our girls really put up a good fight."
Franciscan came out strong in their first game against the Huntington University Foresters, winning 25-20, yet fell overall in the match after three more close games: 25-23, 25-21, 25-19. The reliable Meg Kay with Anna Cain tallied 11 and 10 kills, respectively, with the Burnham sisters' ready assists: Grace with 15 followed by Mary with 10. Alyssa Wappes, the 5'7" junior that Herrmann describes as "the player who can play where ever she is needed", led with 12 digs. Wappes's performance highlights the Lady Barons defensive presence throughout the match: Nicole Henson with seven digs, and Mary Hoyt, Mary Burnham, Julie Matanzo, and Meg Kay each adding six digs each.
"Our weakness against Huntington was our service errors," Herrmann said. "We have to be consistent and make hard yet precise serves."
In their fourth and final match, Franciscan battled the Lourdes College Gray Wolves and, though exhausted, made the Gray Wolves earn the match-win: 25-19, 25-7, 25-20. Anna Cain tallied six kills, Grace Burnham registered six assists followed by the capable Alyssa Wappes with four. Nicole Henson led the wide-spread defensive stats with 10 digs.
"The tournament overall was a good opportunity in nonconference matches," said Herrmann. "It gave us room to move our team around, learn to improvise, and play everyone in preparation for our conference match in a week from today."
The Franciscan University Volleyball team will face St. Vincent College on Monday, September 20, in the Finnegan Fieldhouse starting at 7:00 p.m.