Mastodons fall to Falcons volleyball

By Zane Miller and By Zane Miller

The Falcons volleyball team defeated the Fort Wayne Mastodons in an exhibition match Saturday afternoon three sets to two; winning the first two sets 25-22 and 25-17. Then, they lost the next two sets 25-20 and 26-24 before taking the final set and the match 15-8.

“This was a great opportunity for us to give everybody some real game-playing experience against another team before we officially start the season,” Falcons Head Coach Danijela Tomic said. “We have four freshmen and we have some returners from last year who didn’t play a lot, so this was great to give them some experience.”

The team felt the exhibition match was important for taking a more in-depth look at the team before the season officially starts.

“For us coaches, we took some positive things away, but we saw some weaknesses that we need to work on and continue working on,” Tomic said. “We definitely need more kills, we need to get at least two more players who will score for us and we definitely need to focus a little bit more on our blocking.”

The team also discovered some positive signs within the match that should build confidence going into the season.

“There definitely have been positives,” Tomic said. “Our service team did a great job, I thought they were very aggressive. Our defensive group did a very good job defending, so if our offense can get a little more contribution from one or two more players, they’re going to be OK.”

This was also the first season for Division I volleyball to feature an exhibition match on the schedule, and the team felt they took full advantage.

“It really was a huge benefit for us,” Tomic said. “To have a real atmosphere of all the matches, to have a crowd and officials and another team in different jerseys is priceless.”

The team also used the exhibition match opportunity to find different combinations of players to be used at different points throughout the season.

“Our goal was to have everybody play,” Tomic said. “Everybody wanted to get a chance because we’re still figuring out their roles and what they can do, kind of finding the optimal lineup, and we want to put the six or seven best players that will make the best team.”

Although the team lost two of the sets, they felt it was important information going forward.

“We started the first set in one lineup, then changed the second set,” Tomic said. “In the third, we wanted to use different lineups to try different things and get some data out of it.”

The team will next play on Friday and Saturday at home, beginning with a doubleheader on Friday. The first is an afternoon game against the Illinois-Chicago Flames followed by a night game against the Duquesne Dukes. Saturday is another afternoon match against the Xavier Musketeers.