The Rams volleyball team dropped their first of two Ohio road games Thursday evening against Notre Dame in four sets as their season record now sits at 19-8, including 8-4 in Mountain East Conference play. The Rams dropped the opening set 25-18 before fighting back to take the second 25-15.
For a moment it looked like Shepherd would seize the momentum and carry on to a tough road victory against a hungry Notre Dame squad fighting to get above .500, but the Falcons were able to hit enough shots to take the third set 25-19 and fourth 25-23. Notre Dame were able to take advantage of home field and improved their record to 14-13 and 6-5 in MEC action.
This was a game looking back that the Rams know they could have pulled off if their play wasn’t uncharacteristically sloppy as demonstrated by the 30 registered errors. They clearly left potential points off the board, but it is something that can be easily corrected.
The Falcons for comparison had 19 total errors for the game and an advantage in team hitting percentage at .177 to .129 for Shepherd. In the loss the Rams had the advantage in total assists 48-46 and aces at 5-3, if only a few more of those 50/50 balls had gone the Rams way, they could very well be on their way to Urbana with a win instead of a loss.
In the loss, Rams junior outside hitter Cambriea Hill led the team in kills with 17 to go along with 13 digs to finish only second on the team behind junior libero Imani Major’s 23. Notre Dame’s outside hitter Mary Kate McHugh had a game high 22 kills with Falcons libero Alexandra Kaeberlein also registering a game high 27 digs in the winning effort.
Senior setter Becca Kern’s 43 assists were outpaced only by Falcons setter Paige Staudacher’s 44.
The Rams will look to pick up a win and get out of their Ohio road trip with a 1-1 record as they are set to face off against the 18-9 Urbana Blue Knights who also lost in their most recent matchup. Tip-off is set for Friday evening at 6 p.m.
Vaughn is the sports editor for the Picket. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org