The RMU women’s volleyball team dropped both matches in the first day of the Duquesne/Robert Morris Invitational Friday at the Charles L. Sewall Center. The Colonials squared off against visiting Indiana State in the first match of the day and then faced Youngstown State in the nightcap.
The squad started off flat, trading the opposition points throughout the early stages of the 11 A.M. affair.
“I’m not sure the reason for the slow start,” said fifth-year head coach Dale Starr on the first set of the evening. “We’ve tended to start slowly multiple times already this year. We had some pretty good play defensively that really kind of sparked us.”
Towards the end of the first set, the audience began to feel a shift in momentum favoring the home team, as senior Becky Jay had a string of impressive offensive and defensive possessions. Playing from the middle back position, Jay collected three kills and one block to carry her team to take the set 25-22.
The Colonials began the second set in a much more energetic manner, jumping out to a 6-3 lead. The team racked up three consecutive points, prompting an Indiana State timeout.
Following the break in action, Robert Morris settled back into a point-for-point duel with the opposing squad and appeared much less enthusiastic, committing two service errors and giving the Sycamores a free point off of an overpass.
Indiana State was effective in the use of their timeouts, spending one each time it looked as if the Colonials were poised to take control of the game. Each time they would break, RMU would come back on to the court a much more subdued squad.
The visitors shut down Robert Morris’ offense in the final stretch of the set to capture victory of the second set by a score of 27-25.
A 9-0 run to begin the third set gave fans a reason for optimism, but after building an impressive 20-6 lead in the third set, Robert Morris fell flat on its face, dropping the match 29-27. The Sycamores carried the momentum they possessed from the third set into the fourth, winning 25-20 to secure the victory.
“That’s a match that got away from us,” Starr said. “If we make three more plays in sets two and three, we win that match in three.”
ISU went on to win the fourth set 25-20 and secure the road win. Becky Jay finished the first game with 10 kills and four digs, while sophomore Arden Fisher suffered an injury in the match-up that greatly impacted her performance on the night.
The Colonials took on Youngstown State of the Horizon league in their second match of the night, losing to the team in four sets.
RMU had impressive moments throughout the contest, taking the first set 25-19. A tightly contested second set ended with a 25-22 Penguin victory, and from then on they were soundly in command, winning the third set 25-11 and the fourth 25-13.
The pair of losses setbacks the Colonials to 0-6 on the year, similar to the slow start they suffered last season.
Robert Morris looks to bounce back tomorrow afternoon as they face UMass Lowell in a 1 P.M. showdown at the Sewall Center.