After dropping its Sept. 26 CAA home opener to VCU, William and Mary found itself in a four game losing skid, the longest streak for the squad since 2003.
“We’ll be changing how we go about things from here on out,” Head Coach Melissa Shelton said after the loss.
Since then, the Tribe has indeed changed – stringing together six consecutive victories, including a thrilling 3-2 victory over the hosting Rams Friday night.
“Since our first match with VCU we’ve improved our mental focus, blocking and serving,” Shelton said.
Against VCU, the Tribe came out flat in the first set. Despite three service errors, the College was able to claw back to lead 8-7 behind service from senior libero Lindsey Pflugner. But the College was unable to stop the VCU counter, eventually lossing 25-14.
“We weren’t mentally prepared [in the first set],” Kresch said.
The College began the second set on a 5-0 run and went ahead 18-13. The Rams rallied to knot the score at 23-23 before Kresch tallied a strong kill to give the Tribe a one-point lead. Pflugner stepped up to the service line and delivered a clutch ace, taking the set 25-23.
The Tribe was able to calm an early Ram attack in the third set, equalizing and eventually taking an 11-10 lead. The College never looked back, taking the third stanza 25-21 after a kill from junior hitter Erin Skipper capped off a lengthy set-point rally.
The fourth set was back-and-forth throughout. The Rams grabbed a 20-15 lead late, yet the Tribe battled back to tie the score at 25-25 before slipping to 25-26. After a Tribe timeout, senior hitter Lauren Powell tied the score at 26-26 with a kill. But, the College was unable to stop two consecutive VCU kills, handing the set to the Rams 28-26 and tying the match at two sets each.
The Tribe pushed the fifth set score to 14-11, drawing to within one point of winning the match. The College then surrendered two points, allowing the Rams to trail by only one forcing Shelton to call timeout.
“My main goal for the timeout was to get [the team] to relax and refocus on the things they could control,” Shelton said.
After a VCU serve, junior setter Cassie Crumal, who combined with Moloney for 53 assists, set up Skipper for the final point, her fourth kill of the set and fifteenth of the match, taking the set 15-13 and the match 3-2.
The Tribe looks to extend its winning streak against Northeastern on Friday and Hofstra on Saturday at the Kaplan Arena.