MARSHALL - Any coach will tell you: volleyball is a game of runs.
The Waterloo volleyball team’s runs were simply too much for the Marshall Cardinals to overcome tonight. The Pirates swept the Cardinals 25-14, 25-20, 25-19 to remain unbeaten atop the Capitol South Conference.
Early in the first set, the Cardinals showed they were capable of keeping pace with the Pirates. Marshall had the set tied at four before Waterloo ripped off their first major run of the night: a 6-1 stretch that put them ahead 11-5.
The Cardinals never recovered from the six-point deficit. Both teams traded points until Waterloo was up 20-14, and then the Pirates went on a set-clinching 5-0 run – highlighted by a pair of aces from Rylee Duessler – to take set number one 25-14.
At the start of set number two, the Pirates looked like they were poised to run away with the match; early on, they held a 10-5 lead.
It was at that point when Marshall finally put together a run of their own. The Cardinals won five straight points to even the set at 10 and force Waterloo to take a timeout.
From there, the two teams went point for point until the Pirates held a 20-19 lead. Waterloo then went on another set-clinching run, this time taking five of the next six points to secure the second set 25-20.
“I feel like we had too many weapons offensively…” said Waterloo’s Head Coach Christy Mosher. “We had a lot more kills, so I think that put us over the top despite our poor serving and serve receive. When we were able to get the ball in system, they couldn’t do much to stop our hitters.”
In set number three, the Cardinals could feel a sense of urgency sinking in. Up 6-5, Marshall took control of the set with a 6-1 run to go up 12-6.
The Cardinals’ control was short-lived, though.
“We let them back in; I think our mental game was a little off tonight,” said Marshall’s Head Coach Christina Schmitz. “I’ve seen them play a ton better mentally and physically than they did tonight. I don’t know if it was the whole ‘We haven’t played a team of that caliber,’ but I think we played a little scared.”
Down six points, Waterloo went on a match-defining run, taking eight of the next nine points to go up 14-13. The Pirates treaded water for the next eight points; at that point, Waterloo trailed by one: 18-17.
One more time, Waterloo mounted a set-clinching run. The Pirates scored seven of the match’s final eight points – capped by a Joslyn Wolff kill – to secure the sweep.
Despite the loss, Marshall’s confidence hasn’t been shaken; the Cardinals are already looking forward to the October 17 rematch.
“We’ll see Waterloo again…” Schmitz said was the final word she told her players after the match. “We’ll be better next time.”
Waterloo’s Brooke Mosher led all players in kills with 16, followed by Wolff and Sophia Schneider with nine. Anna Lutz was tops for Marshall with six.
Both Wolff and Lutz accounted for two blocks, while Mosher was tops on the night in aces with four.
Wolff and Mosher combined for 29 assists, while Skyla Michalak led the Cardinals with 13.
Michaela Riege racked up 20 digs on the night to lead the Pirates; Kiana Hellenbrand had eight to lead the Cardinals.
Waterloo ups their Capitol South record to an unblemished 5-0 after tonight’s victory, while Marshall’s conference mark falls to 3-2.