The Wildcats’ women’s volleyball team continued their torrid start to the season this past weekend, defeating both Butler and Xavier on a weekend swing through the Midwest. They came back twice from a set down to defeat the Bulldogs in the full five sets (17-25, 25-22, 22-25, 25-22, 15-8) on Friday before defeating Xavier soundly in straight sets (25-19, 25-23, 25-20).
The Wildcats’ win in Indianapolis was a hardscrabble one, as both teams struggled to find success within their offenses throughout the match as they alternated set victories. In total, neither team even achieved a hitting percentage of above .200, as Head Coach Josh Steinbach’s team actually trailed the Bulldogs .170 to .144. But despite their offensive struggles the Wildcats’ defense led them to victory. Senior libero Regan Lough recorded her 1,721st dig to surpass Elizabeth Jones for second place in program history, and Steinbach had nothing but superlatives to say about his defense and its leader.
“Gutted a tough road win out and I’m proud of how hard we played all night,” Steinbach said. “Kathleen was fantastic off the bench. Regan, Anna [Morse] and Sarah [Allman] were great on D and we got just enough offense to win.”
Sophomore middle hitter Sophia Howling bolstered the Wildcats’ defense up front with five blocks while sophomore outside hitter Clare Delaplane led the struggling offense with 14 kills.
The next day in Cincinnati, the Wildcats played more like the 15-6 team they were at the time and secured a much more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing win while dispatching the Musketeers. The defense was stout again in holding the Musketeers to a .248 hitting percentage, as Lough and Delaplane had 17 and 12 digs, respectively.
Senior middle blocker/outside hitter Allie Olsonoski and sophomore right side hitter Sanaä Barnes each had four blocks each. On offense, junior outside hitter Mallory Potts led the Wildcats to a healthy .299 hitting percentage with 10 kills, while Barnes, Olsonoski and Delaplane followed close behind with nine each.
“Two road wins in a weekend is huge for us,” Steinbach said. “Our seniors were outstanding, and Sanaä had a great match.”
The Wildcats are back in action next weekend with a home-and-home against Georgetown. They tip off Friday at 5:00 p.m in Washington and then Sunday at the same time in Nevin Fieldhouse.