True tests of a team’s character do not happen when its stars are shining and when its offense is in full swing. They happens when times are tough. Heading into its Saturday night match against Virginia Commonwealth, William and Mary (7-8, 1-2 CAA) had it tough. Instead of rising above its adversity, the Tribe produced another loss, falling 3-0 to the Rams in a sloppy display.
The College’s members have been plagued by injury this year, including preseason all-CAA junior outside hitter Lindsay Kresch, leading to multiple losses. While playing against VCU Saturday, the College could not overcome its numerous medical setbacks.
“I thought it was very disappointing. I think it was one of the ugliest volleyball matches I’ve ever coached,” Head Coach Melissa Shelton ’91 said. “It just wasn’t nice to watch.”
The match began with a service error — the College received a total of eight during the match — off the hand of freshman outside hitter Celine Alasomuka that led Virginia Commonwealth to an opening run that resulted in a four-point Tribe deficit. The momentum and lead swung back to the College, 13-12, with sophomore setter Molly Krull’s service. Then a string of Tribe errors gave the lead back to the Rams, who held on for the rest of the game, winning 25-21. The Tribe once again found a lead in the middle of the second set but could not close the door falling 25-20, and facing a 2-0 match deficit.
With its members’ backs against the wall, the Green and Gold found life, snagging the first four points to open the third set — once again on Krull’s service. Then the errors piled up again for the College, fueling an 8-0 Rams run and closing the door on the beleaguered Tribe.
“It was a tough loss and its frustrating that we didn’t show up,” senior setter Cassie Crumal said.
Crumal, who finished with a match-high, 24 assists, was forced to target senior outside hitter Erin Skipper, who finished with eight kills and eight digs, and senior middle blocker Ginny Bray, who recorded a match-high 12 kills, in Kresch’s absence.
Tribe players and coaches acknowledged that the absence of Kresch, who won Player of the Week honors in the CAA on September 20th, had a big impact.
“Lindsay [Kresch] being out is huge; she’s one of our top passers and top two hitters so her being out it really limits us, Shelton said. “A team needs to be able to absorb people being out and we weren’t able to do that tonight.”
The loss stung even more due to the fact that the Rams ousted the Tribe in the semifinal round of the 2009 CAA Tournament.
“It’s unfortunate to lose to [Virginia Commonwealth] last year in the semifinals and really have a chance now to prove ourselves and then lose to them again,” Crumal said.