After suffering its first loss of the season early last Saturday, SRU’s Volleyball team (7-1) rallied together to defeat Davis & Elkins College (1-7) 3-0 later on that day.
The Rock came out that evening with something to prove after they let the game they played against the University of Southern Indiana (7-1) slip away Coach Laureen Lokash said earlier that day. Though they will face tougher teams later this season, Lokash said that she and her girls do not believe this was one of those teams.
“They did not win the game, we lost the game,” Lokash said.
SRU turned things around and won in straight sets over Davis & Elkins, winning each set with scores of 25-15, 25-21, and 25-22.
Lokash said these girls have that in them to come back and get a win after those long days.
“Either you’re a competitor or you’re not a competitor,” she said. “Every time you walk on the floor do you have that instinct that says ‘do you want to win?’, and that is what we are looking for.”
The girls surely seemed to have that instinct, coming out with a strong performance that did not allow the opposing team to win a single set. Junior Leah Jones , who led the attack with 14 kills and two service aces, inspires the team through her play Lokash said.
According to Lokash, the team feeds on what she does because she is such a “dynamic” player. Jones promotes confidence in herself and her team and said that even though Southern Indiana gave them some more competition than most teams prior to, she said nothing was thrown at them that they could not handle.
“I want to make my biggest impact with my play,” Jones said. “If other people can feel that, they will rise to that same goal.”
Jones has teammates who also rose to the occasion. Following close behind her, opposite senior Lamija Alisic and outside hitters sophomore Kristen Smith and junior Jaden Zimmer each had 8 kills a piece.
Setter Haley Defibaugh did her part with 38 assists and sophomore Courtney Oberlander contributed a team-high 18 digs on the defensive.
Prior to the game against Davis & Elkins, the Rock beat UVa-Wise (3-3) and Concord (0-6).
The Rock won the first game 3-2 (31-29, 25-23, 27-29, 20-25,15-8) and the second 3-0 (25-19, 25-20, 26-24). Jones led in kills each game and added 19 digs against Uva-Wise. Though the team experienced its first loss, Oberlander and Defibaugh fought hard defensively with 27 and 18 digs respectively.
Oberlander, like Jones, said that she wants her play and her effort to keep the team going, and with the competition only getting harder in the upcoming future the Rock is going to need those continuous efforts on both sides of the court.
The Rock will face American Volleyball Coaches Association No. 10 overall Wheeling Jesuit University on Friday at 2:00 p.m. in Wheeling, WV.
“This weekend will be somewhat pivotal for us,” Lokash said. “They will push us to our limits.”