Coming into Sept. 20, the Seton Hall women’s volleyball team had lost eight of its first 11 games, which can potentially be attributed to how young and fairly inexperienced the team is. However, had a fantastic opportunity to get off on the right foot at the George Mason Invitational when facing a .500 squad in William and Mary. At 4-4 overall and in a weaker conference, the Tribe’s weak start gave hope to a Seton Hall squad that desperately needed a win to start off its three-game invitational.
The Pirates started the match with a chip on one shoulder and came out of it with a win on the other. The team swept the Tribe from William and Mary in straight sets, 25-18, 25-22, 26-24.
In the first set, the play started very close between the two squads. At an 8-6 deficit after the first 14 points, Seton Hall went on a 13-3 scoring run, effectively putting the Tribe at a seemingly insurmountable deficit. After another small William and Mary run, freshmen Reece Koehler and Julia Wilkins put an exclamation point on the set, as a Koehler kill set up set point, and a Wilkins kill won the set for the Pirates 25-18.
The score once again remained tight at the beginning of the second set, as after 34 points the score was 17 apiece. Two straight points on block assists by Maggie Cvelbar and Amanda Rachwal put Seton Hall ahead 19-17, and the Pirates eventually won, 25-22.
Set three started similarly to set one, with the Pirates quickly falling behind and allowing the opposition to grab a 13-10 lead. After a small comeback to tie the game at 19, the Tribe pulled ahead by three, prompting a Seton Hall timeout. After gathering themselves, they rallied for three straight points to tie it, went down 24-23, and then rallied for another three to complete the sweep 26-24.
During the Pirates’ fourth win of the year, Cvelbar was dominant. She achieved her 17th career double-double, the most for any active Seton Hall volleyballer. She got this through getting 28 assists, 11 digs, two blocks, and two kills. Her 28 assists not only propelled Seton Hall to a win, but also pushed her to ninth all-time on the Seton Hall career assists list.
Brendan Balsamo can be reached at Brendan.firstname.lastname@example.org. Find him on Twitter @brenbal.