Falcons volleyball falls in final tournament

By Zane Miller and By Zane Miller

The Falcons volleyball team faced three different teams in the Hampton Inn Invitational tournament at the Stroh Center on Friday and Saturday. They fell to the Chicago Flames three sets to two on Friday afternoon before winning Friday night against the Duquesne Dukes 3-0. Then, they lost the final match on Saturday afternoon 3-0 to the Xavier Musketeers.

The first match against Chicago began with the visiting team jumping out to the early advantage, winning the first game 25-21. However, the Falcons fought back with two wins of their own, taking the second and third games 25-19 and 25-20. However, the team was unable to pull away with the win as Chicago grabbed a 27-25 victory and the teams went into a fifth set, which Chicago took 15-6 to win the match. 

However, the team was optimistic about their chances for the remainder of the season after having their first regular season match to help get a better handle on their strengths as well as their weaknesses. 

“We have to go through these growing pains,” Falcons head coach Danijela Tomic said. “I believe in this team, I think we have enough talent, it’s just a matter of learning from some of the things that we didn’t do well and emphasize our strengths also… it’s our first match and I wish we won, but we’re going to learn from this.”

In the second match of Friday’s doubleheader with the Duquesne Dukes, the Falcons were able to get ahead in the first game 25-19 before taking a close second match 25-22. The team completed the sweep with a 25-16 victory for the team’s first match win of the season.

“We wanted to get our first win of the 2017 season today,” Tomic said. “I’m very proud of our team, I asked them to learn from the first match that we lost, and we focused on the areas that we said we needed to be better for Duquesne.”

On Saturday, the team faced the Xavier Musketeers to close out the invitational. Xavier went ahead 25-20 in the first game, then took a close win 28-26 before closing out another three game set, going undefeated on the weekend.

“They have their hitters, anybody can score,” Tomic said. “They run a very fast offense, they have options to hit from any part of the net and they move their hitters, so you have to be disciplined in blocking and not get caught up in that movement that they create.”

The team feels playing in the invitational will be important in developing for the rest of the season, as there will be two more non-conference invitational tournaments before going into Mid-American Conference play.

“It was still a good match,” senior outside hitter Nicole Slimko said. “We saw our potential, so I think that this next week will be in the gym, just working hard and getting back at it. This is all preparation for the MAC.”

The team will next play on Friday night at home against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and again at home on Saturday afternoon against the Southeastern Louisiana Lions.