The Seton Hall Pirates Volleyball team defeated the Iona Gaels tonight in straight sets, 25-21, 25-22, and 25-13, picking up their second win of the season and rebounding after a tough weekend that saw them lose three of four matches.
Senior Hayley Gasser led the Pirates 16 kills, nearly matching her career high of 17, which she achieved in Saturday’s loss to Northeastern. Freshman Reece Koehler continued her excellent start to the season, recording 10 kills to complement Gasser up front. Junior Amanda Rachwal and Senior Madison Salkowski each had 6 kills.
Sophomore Eden Dolezal led the Pirates with 14 digs. Sensational freshman setter Grace Rosenberg added 11 digs to go along with 31 assists, her third straight match with 30 or more assists, and Junior Elizabeth Sottung added 8 kills.
Tonight’s match followed a familiar script to the weekend’s matches in its initial moments, with Iona racing out to a 6-2. But following a timeout, the Pirates climbed back into the match, tying things at 9 after an ace from Sottung and a kill from Gasser. From there, the Pirates pulled away as Gasser entered a mythical place for athletes known as the zone. Hayley recorded six kills and an ace in the set, including the 24th and 25th point, as the Pirates edged Iona in set one 25-21.
Gasser followed up her first set performance with seven more kills in set two. The Pirates initially fell behind Iona 14-12 but a key 5-0 run sparked by two kills by Gasser and one each by Rachwal and Koehler, gave the Pirates a lead they wouldn’t relinquish winning set two 25-22.
Set 3 was thoroughly dominated by Seton Hall. Gasser finished with three kills and an ace and Rachwal added five kills as the Pirates finished off Iona 25-13.
Coach Allison Yaeger complimented the presence of a student section, mostly made up of other Pirate student-athletes with giving the Pirates an extra edge tonight. “Walsh is loud, nobody (opposing teams) likes coming in here,” Yaeger said.
Yaeger also commented on the consistent leadership of Gasser. “We haven’t had somebody step up and be ‘the man’ of the team and she’s really done that the last three matches we’ve played.”
Gasser added that because of the team’s youth this year they have a motto of “nothing to lose just something to prove” and echoed Yaeger’s previous assertions that this year is a learning experience for a young volleyball squad.
With the win, Seton Hall improves to 2-6 on the season. The team hits the road for the Akron Invitational this weekend, taking on Eastern Kentucky, Saint Francis, and host Akron in Akron, Ohio.
Matthew Collins can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.