October 19, 2018

Webster volleyball players battle for statistical lead

Junior Emily Ratkewicz earns one of her four blocks of the game for Webster University in the team’s match against Washington University on Aug. 30. PHOTO BY DAVID BROOME

The Webster University women’s volleyball team not only battle its opponents, but also compete for lead roles on the team.
Only eight points separate the top three kills leaders, juniors Sam Kersting, Jenny Howard and Kristen McDowell. Kersting and junior Emily Ratkewicz sit atop the list in blocking statistics. Ratkewicz leads her teammate by only five total blocks.
“It is a battle that is just understood between us,” Kersting said. “I don’t go up and tell her I’m competing against her but I know that she pushes me and I push her to do better.”
Volleyball head coach Merry Graf has the ability to keep all four of those players on the court at the same time since they play at six-two offense.
Graf said the past few years her team’s have all had at least two players compete for the setter position. In this offense she can use two throughout the match.
Juniors Allie O’Toole and Ashley Fawcett lead the team in assists with 81 and 76 respectively, while sophomore Victoria Jewell has seen limited time this season.
Kersting said it takes some time to get acclimated to receiving passes from different setters throughout a season.
“The ball comes off of Victoria’s hands differently than it would Allie’s,” Kersting said. “That affects the way a hitter reads the spin on the ball.”
The Gorloks finished second in the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Tournament in Indiana with a 3-1 record. Last year, Webster was 0-4 and won only two games in all four matches.
Kersting said this season, the team has put a big emphasis on its non-conference games. Last year, in the first round of the D-III NCAA National Tournament, they were the lowest seed.

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