RMU leaves it all on the court against Ohio State


Cortney Peasley

April Krivoniak recorded 9 kills against Sacred Heart but her team fell to the Pioneers Sunday.

Samuel Anthony, Staff Reporter

Coach Dale Starr and the RMU women’s volleyball team brought pride to Robert Morris University in a hard fought 3-set loss to the 14th ranked Buckeyes of Ohio State Friday night.

In Kristin Thompson’s grand finale in front of thousands at the St. Johns Arena, the Colonials left it all on the floor, going toe to toe with a bigger, stronger Buckeye team, but showing that size isn’t the only thing that matters.

The fan section, who traveled four hours on a bus to watch their team, roared as Robert Morris claimed the first point of the match and it was smiles all around as for a brief moment, the Colonials had taken the lead on a team that expects to win national championships annually. And this wasn’t the only time the Colonials had the lead. RMU was able to hold leads in two of the three sets against the Buckeyes.

The trend of the match would be Robert Morris playing tight volleyball at the beginning of each set, before Ohio State would gain momentum, allowing them to stay far enough ahead to prevent a Robert Morris rally.

RMU was led by Taylor Lord and Arden Fisher each scoring 5.5 points against an OSU defense that was extremely tough at the net, totaling 10 blocks in just three sets.

At the heart of the RMU’s problems was Ohio State’s Taylor Sandbothe, who collected six of the Buckeye’s 10 blocks and recorded an additional 11 kills. Proving too much for the Colonials to handle.

The set scores went in an order of 25-13, 25-16, and 25-11.

What needs to be understood with these scores is the true David vs Goliath nature of this match-up. Going into the week in the NCAA Volleyball RPI rankings, the Ohio State Buckeyes were ranked at number 14 while the Colonials, even after winning 7 straight matches, were ranked 203.

But at no point did the Colonials go into battle thinking of defeat, just looking inside themselves and finding the belief that they could do what appeared to be impossible. And while the impossible didn’t happen, Robert Morris sure did make it seem possible.

“I’m so proud of these girls in everything they did today and this season,” said head coach Dale Starr. “It is such a bright future for this team….and we expect to be here next year and compete even harder than before.”

And when you only lose one senior, that seems very possible for a very young Colonials team. Players like Fisher, Leah Dunivan, and April Krivoniak will be in their senior seasons and primed for a return that would top off what has been excellent careers for all three women.

Freshmen like Lord and Liz Campbell will look to build on what have been break out seasons for them, and players like Jessie Kaczmarek, Deja Tamlin, and Schaely Renefrew hope to be the successful replacements to the giant hole left by one of the RMU all-time greats in Thompson.

While basketball and hockey reign supreme in the Robert Morris sport world, volleyball should be something Colonials fans keep an eye on in the future. A new culture has followed coach Starr in his first NCAA tournament appearance; it’s an expectation that Robert Morris should be in the Big Dance next year and for years to follow. The recruiting is paying off: when one star leaves, two more take its place.

In this new era of Robert Morris sports, expect women’s volleyball to be a direct contributor to the great future ahead.