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Women’s Volleyball digs deep to find early success

After last season’s 1-4 start for the Seton Hall women’s volleyball team, the Pirates have turned things around in impressive fashion, jumping out to a 4-2 record. While a variety of factors have contributed to the team’s success, a notable trend has been its results in contests that last longer than three sets. [caption id="attachment_19383" align="aligncenter" width="838"] Seton Hall Women’s Volleyball has gotten off to a hot start thanks to their ability to play longer sets. Photo via SHU Athletics.[/caption] The Pirates are 3-1 in matches that are four sets or longer, including two five-set wins. In shorter matches the Pirates have seen mixed results, sweeping Northwestern State on Aug. 26, while also getting swept by Colorado on that same day. A key for the Pirates seems to be extending matches and tiring opponents out with a newfound depth in the Hall’s roster. “For the first time in a long time, we have a lot of depth on this team,” head coach Allison Yaeger said after the team’s win over Rutgers on Sunday, Sept. 3. “We don’t recruit anybody just to put them on the bench.” The team has 10 different players who have seen action in 15 or more sets, including new faces like freshman Amanda Rachwal and graduate transfer Sharay Barnes. The longer matches have allowed the Pirates to stay competitive with their opponents in most areas during this five-match opening span. The Hall has averaged 12.3 kills per set to opponents’ 12.4, and for assists, the Pirates are putting up 11.3 per set compared to opponents’ 11.65 heading into Wednesday night. Seton Hall really sets itself apart in terms of digs per set, where opponents put up 13.7 compared to 15 from the Hall. Among the Pirates with 52 or more digs are juniors Abby Thelen and Sophia Coffey. Coffey has made a strong improvement in her digs per set, increasing from 2.12 to 2.60 since last season, which is just a small indicator of her expanded role this year. Despite Coffey’s significant improvement, Thelen’s impact is unmatched. Thelen has more than doubled her digs per set to 2.85, which is good for second on the team. She also leads the Hall in kills per set at 3.95. With players flourishing in expanded roles, the Pirates are taking advantage of their depth, stretching out contests to the tune of more wins for Yaeger’s side. Kyle Kasharian can be reached at or on Twitter @ItsKyleKash.


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