In the first road game after the home season finale, William and Mary (7-18, 3-11 CAA) lost decisively to Delaware (3-11, 5-8 CAA), which swept the match, 3-0. The Tribe entered the game Friday, Nov. 8, hoping to find a win after last Sunday’s loss against North Carolina-Wilmington, while the Blue Hens hosted the match after two-straight losses last weekend. With Friday’s loss, the Tribe split the season series with the Blue Hens, whom it beat earlier in the season Oct. 14.
The first set began with the Tribe falling well behind the Blue Hens, who shot ahead to 9-1 before the Tribe called a timeout. Afterward, the Tribe continued to struggle and the Blue Hens extended the lead, now 16-5 at the second timeout. Delaware won the first set easily, 25-14.
During the first set, the Tribe had a measly .129 hitting percentage, while the Blue Hens hit .406. Junior middle blocker Julia Brown made three kills on seven attempts, and junior opposite hitter Kate Dedrick made three kills on 13 attempts. Sophomore outside hitter Lauren Merrill added two kills of her own and, with freshman middle blocker Kaitlyn Ferguson, put up a key block against the Blue Hens. Meanwhile, senior setter Autumn Brenner put up seven assists and two digs, and freshman libero Anna Porter added one assist and four digs.
The second set began much as the first with the Blue Hens surging to an early lead against the Tribe, 5-1. The Tribe called a timeout once the Blue Hens brought the score to 9-3 in a three-point scoring run, but it failed to stop them afterward from scoring three more points to make it a six-point run, the score now 12-3. Although the Tribe made a push late in the set, Delaware took another easy 25-14 win.
The Tribe hit worse during the second set with a .120 hitting percentage, while the Blue Hens hit even better with a .483 hitting percentage. Dedrick made four kills and a dig, and Brown added a kill and a service ace. Merrill put up two kills, two digs, and a block, while Brenner put up two more assists and Porter added an assist and a dig.
The third set sealed the College’s defeat against Delaware. The Tribe tied the Blue Hens early in the set at a score of 2-2 — their one tie of the game — but the Blue Hens recovered with a three-point scoring run to give them a nice lead. They brought the score to 13-5 before the Tribe took its first timeout. Afterward, the Blue Hens went on a five-point run to bring the score even higher to 18-6.
A block by Ferguson started a small rally for the Tribe, the score now 18-8, but the Tribe failed to gain ground on Delaware’s early lead. Delaware took the set 25-15 to win the match in a shutout against the Tribe.
The Tribe’s hitting percentage dropped its lowest yet during the third set — .045 — while Delaware hit .462. Dedrick shined on defense with three blocks, as did Ferguson, who put up another two blocks. Merrill added three kills, five digs, and a block. Brown and freshman setter Kate Van Houten each made a kill.
During Friday’s match, Van Houten made her first career kill and put up a career-high nine assists. Meanwhile, Dedrick hit .300 with a team-high eight kills. On defense, Dedrick, Merrill, and Ferguson all put up three blocks. Brenner passed the 2,500 assist mark in the second set. Brown, the Colonial Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Week, found no opportunities to block against the dominant Delaware offense, but made five kills overall.
After Friday’s loss, the Tribe will travel to Harrisonburg, Virginia, to face James Madison (16-7, 10-3 CAA) on Sunday, Nov. 10, in the second-to-last game of the regular season.