No place like home... for Pilot Volleyball
By PJ Marcello, Staff Writer -- firstname.lastname@example.org
The Pilot volleyball team celebrated its return home for the first time in 15 games by defeating the Trinity Western Spartans three sets to one Sept. 28.
The Pilots won three straight sets after dropping a close first set 26-24.
"We showed a lot of nerves early," Coach Joe Houck said. "We had a break in our schedule and from practice before this game and had to shake of some rust early but it was good to see them rise up and close out close games."
After the slow start, the Pilots rallied, winning the next three sets with scores of 25-20, 25-14 and 27-25.
The offense was led by junior Kati Hronek who had a game high 17 kills, as well strong performances at the net by junior Marissa Plummer and sophomores Kate Bostwick and Ariel Usher. Together, the three combined for 54 kills.
Much of the success up front was due to the strong play of sophomore Madison Smith, who contributed 53 of the team's 58 assists in the game.
"We showed a lot of offensive fire power tonight," Houck said. "We had great balance with our top three or four scorers and Maddie (Smith) did a good job of spreading the ball."
Defensively, the Pilots were once again led by senior Danielle Dupar, who leads the nation with 5.85 digs per set going into the game.
"With the support from my teammates I'm becoming the libero I know I can be," Dupar said. "This season is my last shot so I want to go out on a good note."
The Pilots credit the win to solid team play and an understanding of each teammate's role in the game.
"We are a close team this year and have a good team dynamic," Hronek said. "We know what each other are going to do and we have a winning mindset."
Finally being at home also helped the Pilots rally to victory.
"Playing here gives us more momentum and an urgency to win for the fans," Hronek said.
The Pilots believe they can keep this high level of play up against any WCC team.
"I'm excited for conference because we can win against any given team on any given night in our conference," Dupar said.
The win improves the young Pilots' teams record to 7-9 and adds some confidence going into conference play which begins Sept. 30, in Moraga, CA against St. Mary's.