The women’s volleyball team kicked off their season this past week in Ellensburg, Washington at the Hampton Inn Wildcat Volleyball Invitational, hosted by Central Washington. The tournament began last Thursday, and concluded Saturday.
With their season just underway, senior Ashley Robinson was excited to start her last, collegiate season.
“It’s my last year and I wanted to start the season off strong,” said Robinson. “I was most confident about how close our team is and how well we stick together.”
Western Washington was Sonoma’s first opponent this season. The last time these teams faced each other was during the 2013 postseason at the NCAA Division II Championship tournament. The Seawolves came out on top of that matchup where they won over the Wildcats with a final score of 3-0. Yet, the Seawolves found themselves on the other side of the victory last Thursday.
During their four sets, the offense committed 29 errors, as opposed to Western Washington’s 19. However, senior Regan Richert believed that this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“We played fearless offense,” said Richert. “My teammates stepped up and hit hard. This, consequently, led us to make some unforced hitting errors.”
On the other hand, the team did lead over the Wildcats with kills on the day with a combined 48. Junior Caylie Seitz led all players in the game with 15. Unfortunately, the Seawolves could not overcome their offensive errors and went 1-3 (20-25, 20-25, 25-21, 16-25) against their Pac West opponent.
The next day, the team was eager to get their first win. Facing the Saints from St. Martin’s, Sonoma’s offense started off strong, and stayed that way for the remainder of the game. Unlike the previous day, the Seawolves’ offense had a total of only 8 errors. Junior Kaitlyn Connolly had 13 digs on the day and Seitz, once again, led both teams with 13 kills. The Seawolves went undefeated in 3 sets (12-25, 11-25, 17-25).
Saturday, the final day of the tournament, the team played a doubleheader; one game against Hawaii Pacific and another against Central Washington.
It remained a close match from the first set to the last against HPU. Four out of the five sets were decided by only two points. A fifth set was forced by HPU, but the win eventually went to the Seawolves due to two Shark errors. Seitz had her best game of the weekend with 29 kills.
It was a disappointing final game against host Central Washington, who ended the weekend undefeated against every CCAA opponent they faced. The Seawolves lost in three sets, but the scores remained close (25-20, 25-22, 25-22). They hit with an average of just .197 as opposed to their .267 average over their previous three games.
The Seawolves are currently without their senior Kelsey Hull to start the season, who was second on the team with kills last season. Hull underwent an unexpected surgery and the team had to make some last minute changes to their lineup.
“There are a handful of girls who are playing new positions,” said Regan Richert. “Change isn’t easy, but we handled it well.”
Hull is hoping to recover quickly and be cleared to practice by Friday before taking on conference rival Cal State Los Angeles.
In the meantime, the team will be studying up on the Golden Eagles, watching tapes, and learning how to defend against their offense.
“We will only get better from here,” said Hull.
The Lady Seawolves will start conference play against Cal State Los Angeles on Friday, in Los Angeles before heading to Carson to take on Cal State Dominguez Hills the next day. Both games have a 7 p.m. start time.