Sports & Rec Editor
3-0 is a statistic Messiah women’s volleyball has grown accustomed to seeing over the past week. The Falcons have beaten all of their opponents in three straight sets in route to a six match win-streak starting at the Worthington Classic and continuing with victories over Arcadia, Elizabethtown, and Baruch.
Now that the Falcons are holding strong at 22-2, it’s time to hone in on the last few matches of the season: St. Mary’s College of Maryland, a non-conference opponent, and two MAC conference foes: Lebanon Valley and Albright College.
Here’s a look at what the Falcons can expect from their last few match-ups—and how they can use these opportunities to prepare for a postseason run.
Lebanon Valley College (14-6, 4-1 MAC Commonwealth conference)—Oct. 21 at Messiah, 7 p.m.
LVC is one of the tougher teams the Falcons will face this season, sitting just one game behind Messiah in the Commonwealth conference standings. This is the first time the two teams will meet up this year, but Lebanon Valley has the edge all-time versus Messiah, with 20 victories to the Falcons’ 16. The Dutchmen are carrying two straight losses, dropping their past two contests against Swarthmore and McDaniel.
The LVC attack is led by junior middle/outside hitter Greta Weidemoyer, who has totaled 214 kills on the season. Weidemoyer has shown a potential to launch scoring outbursts, particularly in 2014 when she totaled 408 kills, the seventh-highest single-season output in school history.
Helping Weidemoyer set up for the score is junior setter Rachel Moltz, who leads the team with 6.74 assists/set. Moltz has silently developed into a triple threat, leading the service categories and topping categories on the defensive end.
The Dutchmen have an offensive spark-plug in Weidemoyer, but overall this team is much less offense-minded than Messiah. This match looks to be a classic match of offense versus defense—and a good test going into the postseason for Messiah to see if they can capitalize on all areas of the game.
St. Mary’s College of Maryland (13-7, 3-1 CAC conference)—Oct. 24 at St. Mary’s, 5 p.m.
The Seahawks are having a strong second half of the season, going 6-1 since the beginning of October. They also have a strong record at matches they have played at home, where they hold a 4-1 record.
Standouts for St. Mary’s include junior outside hitter Alli Graf, who is a dual threat on attack and defense for the Seahawks. She leads the team with 174 kills and has the second-most digs in the lineup (221). The trio of Alli Graf, junior setter Mimi Graf, and senior middle blocker Mandy Godspeed all have over 130 kills on the season.
St. Mary’s and Messiah have not faced each other in quite some time—the last time they met was Sept. 21, 2013. The Falcons took the match three sets to one.
Due to this, the Seahawks will be somewhat of an unknown for the Falcons. The stats show that St. Mary’s offensive/defensive splits are slightly under the Falcons’, but as many sports fans know, one can never draw outcomes completely from how the team looks on paper.
Albright College (3-14, 0-5 MAC Commonwealth conference)—Oct. 27 at Albright, 7 p.m.
Albright has had a tumultuous season, finally stopping an 11-game losing streak with a win against Gwynedd Mercy University on Oct. 16. The Lions only have one win at home thus far, so the traditional “home-court advantage” has not held for them.
A bright spot for the Lions is sophomore outside hitter Maddy Greth, the only player on the Lions who has made it to triple digits in kills (179). Claudia Guise does the work to set up Greth, with 383 assists. Freshman outside hitter Katie Schmerze is a strong contributor on both offense and defense, producing the second most kills on the team (86) and 131 digs.
It will be important for the Falcons to keep their focus once they arrive at this match, as the postseason will loom large in the background. This match could also provide a chance for Messiah to rest some of their key starters if they get out to a significant lead.
*Statistics provided via GoMessiah.com and individual team websites.
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