Schenectady, NY -- Williams (1-2) started the afternoon on September 9th hoping to stain the momentum from their home opener win against Vassar (0-5). The Ephs faced host Union (3-3) as well as Susquehanna (2-2) on the first day of the Union Invitational.
Last season, the Ephs played Union and lost in a grueling five-set match (20-25,25-14,24-26,25-16,10-15). Head Coach of the Ephs Christi Kelsey, who will be celebrating her eighth year as head coach this season, noted that the team needed to focus on consistency after the match. She explained, "Constancy is something that we need to work on. The team had moments when we were firing on all cylinders and other moments that weren't as strong. Going forward, we're looking to improve on having consistency across the board during matches." This time around, Williams was looking forward to a re-match against the home team.
This season, the first set against Union began with rapid-paced attacks from both sides. The starters for Williams included Roxi Corbeil '19, Natalie Albright '19, Co-Captain Tori Jasuta '17, Ally Ostrow '19, Morgan Richman '19, setter Alex Newton '20, as well as Co-Captain libero Caitie Benell '19. After multiple attack errors by the Ephs, they soon faced a deficit of 4-10. Additionally, after strong hitting by Union, the point differential grew further to 8-16. Up 9-16, Union called a timeout. Down 12-21, Ostrow earned a kill with a set by Newton. At 12-22, Daiana Takashima '19 was subbed in for the Ephs. At 13-22, Williams went on a four-point run with kills by Jasuta and Richman. Despite another kill by Jasuta at 18-24, Union won the first set 20-25 after the Ephs overcame a large early deficit.
The second set began with ties at 4-4, 5-5, and 6-6. At 7-7, Jasuta earned a kill with a set from Newton. Union then pushed ahead and Williams took a timeout down 7-13. After multiple kills from Union, Alex Newton earned a kill at 9-16. Kovalcik entered the game at 9-17. At 12-23, the Ephs subbed in Ostrow. After a challenging second set, the Ephs lost 13-25.
The Ephs were energized at the start of the third set despite being down two sets to none. At 4-4, Ostrow earned a kill with an assist from Corbeil. Down 5-7, Richman got another kill with a set from Corbeil. At 8-9, Newton had a service ace. At 10-10, Ostrow had a kill off of a set by Newton. At 16-18 Jasuta had a strong kill from the outside. Union pushed back and went on a run with multiple attacks. Ultimately Union won the third and final set 20-25.
The second game of the day against Susquehanna also proved to be a challenge for the Ephs. Williams lost the game in three sets (21-25, 11-25, 12-25). Ostrow led the team in kills with 9 total and a hitting percentage of .304. Jasuta lead the team in total attacks with 24 total, Ostrow with 23 total, and Albright with 11 total.
Head coach Christi Kelsey shared some thoughts on day one. She explained, "We are certainly a work in progress as a team to start this year. We have a lot of younger players who are gaining experience as we go and I am incredibly optimistic about our growth night in and night out."
Coach Kelsey was looking forward to the second day of the Union Invitational. She added, "Tonight we certainly had a lot of learning moments and we hope to put those into action tomorrow. Each day we are trying to improve from where we were the day before so we are all looking forward to another opportunity to get better tomorrow."
The Ephs plan to get some rest as they prepare for Day 2 of the Union Invitational on September 10th. Williams plays SUNY Oneonta (1-3) at 9:00AM and Ramapo (2-2) at 1:00PM. Last season, the Ephs won against SUNY Oneonta in three sets (25-21, 25-20, 25-20). The match featured notable moments including multiple kills from Ostrow as well as confident serving by Bennell. The Ephs are looking forward to a great weekend of volleyball.
Senior Tori jasuta was named to the All-Tornament Team.