Pirates collapse, drop final sets in loss
The Seton Hall volleyball team was just one set from victory, but ultimately fell to in-state rival Rutgers 3-2 (25-22, 25-11, 19-25, 20-25, 13-15) on Friday.
Senior Sarah Osmun and junior Meghan Matusiak each registered 14 kills to lead Seton Hall in the loss.
Sophomore Hannah Hugeback added nine kills and a match-high 22 digs, while fellow sophomore Kalie Marshall recorded a career-high 18 digs.
Marshall played in place of freshman Alyssa Warren, Seton Hall’s current leader in digs this season. Warren was out with an injury.
Sophomore Olivia Trudeau had 42 assists and nine digs. Osmun also chipped in on the defensive end with nine digs
The first set was a close one, as both teams fought to a 20-20 tie.
A kill from sophomore Morgan DeVries, coupled by a pair of errors from the Scarlet Knights gave the Hall a 23-20 lead.
Osmun would later close out the set with a kill as the Pirates took a 1-0 lead in the match.
In the second set, the Pirates raced out to a 20-6 lead, winning the set by a score of 25-11.
After taking the 2-0 lead against Rutgers the Hall would drop the next two sets, tying the match at 2-2 heading into the fifth and final set.
“We smoked them in the first two (sets), but then we dropped the next three,” Zeiter said. “We’ve had some trouble in third sets this year. We get a lead, and we seem to sort of take our foot off the pedal a little bit. It allows the other team to make a match out of something that really shouldn’t have been a match in the first place.”
In the fifth set, the Pirates took the early lead, 4-1. But Rutgers went on a 10-3 run that gave them an 11-8 advantage. Seton Hall cut the deficit to one point twice, and also held off a match point before a kill from Rutgers’ Emma Chrystal sealed the defeat for the Hall.
“I thought we played pretty good defense,” Zeiter said. “The area we really struggled on was killing the ball.”
Seton Hall finished with one less kill, 53, than Rutgers, 54 in what was ultimately a close match with 23 lead changes and 10 ties.
The Pirates dropped to 8-14 overall, 2-4 in the Big East, while Rutgers improved to 9-11, and 1-5 in Big East play.
With eight matches to go before the start of the conference playoffs, the Hall sits in eleventh place in the Big East, 1.5 games behind, with two less wins and one more loss than the eighth-place Pittsburgh Panthers. The top eight teams in the 16-team Big East make the playoffs.
Zeiter said he likes his team’s chances of claiming back-to-back playoff berths and he still has confidence.
“We were 2-4 last year at this time, too, so we’ve been in this position before,” he said
He said the first step toward the postseason is getting a victory on Friday.
“We’ve got a three-match losing streak in the Big East, so we need to get ourselves back into the win column,” he said. “The good news for us is that all our matches from here on out are winnable. We’ve got Cincinnati and Louisville out of the way already, so there aren’t really any teams that scare us right now.”
The Pirates return to action on Friday at 7 p.m. on the road against the Connecticut Huskies.
Jason Guerette can be reached at email@example.com.