They were on the cusp of victory. One set away from snapping cross-town rival Walsh University’s perfect 12-0 start and pulling off a huge upset. Just mere points away…but they couldn’t do it.
Unfortunately, when the Pioneers visited undefeated Walsh last Thursday night, Sept. 29, they came up just short, suffering a tough five-set defeat.
As the hotly contested match began, the host Cavaliers captured the first set rather convincingly with a 25-18 win. (Check out the box score for more statistics.)
In a hostile environment, the Pioneers fought back by capturing the next two sets with identical 25-23 scores.
With only another set needed the Pioneers were on the brink of something special until the home team evened the contest in a fierce fourth set victory, 25-21.
From there the Cavaliers had recaptured momentum and finished off the Pioneers by winning the deciding fifth set 15-11, wrecking what could have been another strong step in the growth of this youthful squad.
“I think that our team learned how to handle pressure,” junior setter Jackie Schwamberger said. “All teams are put in tough situations and even though we lost, I think next time we’ll handle similar situations better.”
Despite the loss, the Pioneers are still trending in the right direction. After starting 1-3, the squad has rapidly turned things around by going 10-4 in their last 14 games.
In this 14-game stretch they have beaten the likes of NAIA #12 Biola (CA) University, NCAA Div. II Tiffin University and the always-tough University of Mount Union.
While the loss to Walsh stings, the team is still proud of the fight they showed against such a worthy opponent.
[pullquote]Losing to Walsh after being up 2-1 was very disappointing,” Schwamberger said. “Even though we fought hard Walsh came out on top, but our team is still holding our heads high. We are proud of the way we played and while its not as good as a win, it definitely numbs the pain.”[/pullquote]
“Losing to Walsh after being up 2-1 was very disappointing,” Schwamberger said. “Even though we fought hard Walsh came out on top, but our team is still holding our heads high. We are proud of the way we played and while its not as good as a win, it definitely numbs the pain.”
With the defeat in the closely contested match, the Pioneers dropped their record to 11-7 and the Cavaliers continued their perfect season, elevating their record to 13-0.
Volleyball’s next test comes tonight at home as they take on the 9-11 Mount Vernon Nazarene University volleyball team in a rematch of last year’s AMC (American Mid-East Conference) Championship match. The game starts at 7:00 p.m. in Osborne Hall and fans can also follow the contest via a free video stream.