Conference season opens with victory for volleyball
The Webster University volleyball team exploited a height-disadvantaged Westminster College team in front of one of the largest crowds the Gorloks will have this year.
Conference matches couldn’t come soon enough for the Gorloks after a 1-5 start to the season. Hosting St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opponent Westminster, Webster won in four sets (25-17, 18-25, 25-16, 25-21).
Webster played to its height throughout the entire match, as the top two attackers of the match, sophomore middle hitter Sam Kersting and junior middle hitter Lindsey Taylor, also happened to be the tallest at 6-foot-1. Both Kersting and Taylor recorded more kills during the Tuesday, Sept. 11 match than they had coming into the match. Kersting finished with 21 kills, and Taylor had nine.
“We (Kersting and Taylor) wanted the ball tonight, and the setters knew we wanted it,” Taylor said.
Not only were those two the powerhouses on offense, but their defense rounded out their star performances. They accounted for five solo blocks as well as five assisted blocks. The match point came from a stuff block by Kersting.
Webster succeeded in its goal of a win Tuesday night, but the team isn’t satisfied with the way the season has started.
In the Rose-Hulman tournament on Sept. 8 and 9 in Terre Haute, Ind., Webster won only two sets and had an 0-4 record. Taylor called the Gorloks’ play a “total Ice Age meltdown”.
Even with the win Tuesday night, coach Merry Graf thought the Gorloks gave away a chance to sweep Westminster in three sets, but lost the second set.
“We still had a stretch where we didn’t play smart and made a few mistakes,” Graf said.
The win does give Webster confidence going into two more conference matches against Spalding University and Greenville College on Saturday, Sept. 15 in Elsah, Ill.
“They (Spalding and Greenville) are going to look at the scores and say, ‘They dropped one to Westminster,’ but we will come out stronger this weekend,” Taylor said.
Webster was still without two of last season’s top three attackers, as sophomore middle hitter Emily Ratkewicz and sophomore outside hitter Jenny Howard were unable to play.
Howard warmed up in uniform but also had her leg wrapped from her shin to the middle of her thigh. Graf said her jumping and hitting looked to be in full form, but she wasn’t needed and Graf didn’t want to rush her back.