Volleyball beats North Central, faces St. Thomas on Friday

The volleyball team dominated North Central last Tuesday, sweeping all three sets 25-9 to boost their record to 7-11.

The Scots recorded 18 aces, including six by right side hitter Laura Avena ’14, who added to her team-leading total of 43.

Middle hitter Hannah Rehak ’15 recorded five kills and was pleased with how her team played.

“I think we played very well and consistently,” Rehak said. “I think that we got a very clear sense early on with what kind of team they were…and I think that it’s hard to play with the same intensity against a team [like North Central] versus a team with a perfect record. I was very impressed that we kept it together the way we did.”

With Tuesday’s win, the team surpassed their victory total from last season in 11 fewer games. Although the Scots are happy with being a better team than they were last year, a season where they struggled to a 6-23 finish, they certainly have higher goals in mind.

“It is really important for us to improve our record from last season and continue to strive for more and not be satisfied with where we are,” head coach Annie Doman said. “One big focus for our team, as we continue to prepare for the rest of the season, is to continue to move forward.”

In listing her aims for the season, Rehak didn’t hold back.

“[We want to] be competitive, be a winning team, act like a winning team [and] not be satisfied with just being better than last season,” Rehak said. “Getting to the playoffs is on the list.”

This year, the Scots have been aided by an infusion of young talent. Of the 21 players on the team, 14 of them are underclassmen. This size advantage was on clear display in their match against North Central, whose team was a third of the size of Macalester’s.

“It’s the biggest team we’ve had in a while,” libero Glasha Marcon ’13 said. “It can be really intimidating for underclassmen… the scores [against North Central] didn’t change when they went into the game. I think that says a lot.”

Rehak agreed with her teammate’s assessment of the team’s depth. In the wake of Tuesday’s win, she shared her belief that everyone on the team is ready to contribute if needed.

“It’s really nice [to] have a really strong starting lineup, but [to] also have a really good second lineup, and third lineup,” Rehak said. “Any single person on the team, I have faith that they can do their job if they have to be thrown in.”

Against North Central, the second and third lineups certainly did their jobs. Twenty of the 21 players on the Macalester roster entered the game, and the team won each set by the same 25-9 margin.

The team looks to continue its positive performance this Friday against St. Thomas, the first of nine straight games against MIAC opponents. Having already played St. Mary’s and Gustavus earlier this year, Macalester has already had a taste of conference competition.

Marcon believes that the team can learn a lot from those two games, and can take those lessons into better performances.

“I think that in our last two [MIAC] games, even though they’ve been losses, we’ve played really well,” Marcon said. “It’s just been the end couple of points where we’ve let up…it’s hard to close that gap. We can shut teams down; we just need to know that we can do it.”

Earlier this season, the Scots traveled to California to play in the Cal Lutheran Tournament. The team split their four games against teams from California and Delaware, sweeping Mills (Oakland, CA) and Wesley (Dover, DE) on Sept. 8 and 9, respectively. Doman had nothing but positive things to say about their time spent on the West Coast.

“I think the team really enjoyed the trip to California,” Doman said. “It was great to play teams outside of the Midwest and also be able to travel this year. This was the first trip we have taken since I have been here…we had several players who have never been to California so it was a wonderful opportunity for us to take this trip.”

Rehak agreed with her coach’s assessment of the trip, praising its timing.

“It was the weekend after classes started, so everyone was kind of in shock [adjusting to the academic routine],” Rehak said. “It was a great end to the preseason, and the seniors had never had a trip like that, so they were really excited. And our four matches were really competitive.”