Mountaineers set to face four teams in two days
Published: Friday, September 7, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 7, 2012 07:09
The West Virginia volleyball team will have quite a test of endurance in this weekend’s West Virginia Golden Horseshoe Invitational. The Mountaineers will take on four teams in two days.
The first match of the tournament will feature West Virginia going up against Maryland-Eastern Shore and two-time Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference Player of the Week Saitausa Iosia.
"They are going to be a tough team," said West Virginia head coach Jill Kramer. "Definitely the team we have our minds set on. We play them first, we focus on them."
The Mountaineers have been plagued by errors this season and will look to control themselves before controlling the net.
Capitalizing on scoring opportunities hasn’t been a problem for some players, though. Freshman middle blocker Caleah Wells leads the Mountaineers with a .347 hitting percentage and fellow freshman and starting outside hitter Hannah Sackett leads the team in kills and in overall scoring, with 87 and 98.5, respectively.
"We just need to control our game and worry about passing and getting the ball over the net," Kramer said. "We’ve got to handle the ball better. We will be working on our passing and serving a great deal in practice this week, as we always do."
The Mountaineers are slated to face St. Peters for their second match of the tournament, and will look for another big game at the net to help protect against St. Peter’s dual threat at outside hitter and right side.
Laura Reinhart and Lauren Behrens have commanded the Peacock attack, with 72 and 70 kills, respectively.
Arielle Allen and Evyn McCoy have contributed excellently to the Mountaineer defensively. Allen has added 63 digs to the team’s total of 299 and McCoy has contributed two solo blocks and 18 block assists.
In a tournament where great defense will most likely need to bail out a fatigued offense, the Mountaineers will hope to see great performances from both girls at the net.
The third match of the tournament for the Mountaineers comes on the second day of the tournament against Radford at noon in the West Virginia University Coliseum. The Highlanders will look to throw Rachel Wiechecki and her 97 kills into the mix early and test the Mountaineers’ Hannah Sackett in a matchup between two hard-hitting outside hitters.
Sackett has come up big in several games with season for WVU, leading the team in kill on four different occasions and will most likely look to add to her total against Radford and prove her worth against some of the game’s best competition.
One of the focuses for Sackett will be to improve her .293 hit percentage and capitalize on a higher percentage of her kill attempts. Sackett has come under fire at the OH position, and things will not be any different in the coming games.
"That’s just part of the game," Kramer said. "People always look to attack the hitters and avoid hitting it into the back row. That’s where most of our errors come from is off of block attempts that just don’t work."
In the final match against Wright State, the Mountaineers will most likely be deep into their rotations and rely on players such as Monique Kemp and Elzbieta Kline to come up big off the bench.
In her only appearance against Navy, Kline earned a kill in her only attempt and will look to add to that total over the course of the weekend. Kemp, another freshman and middle blocker, will look to prove that she can provide the WVU defense with depth at the middle blocker position.
In addition, WVU will look for yet another big game defensively from Anna Panagiotakopoulos, who comes off of a career high 20 digs against George Mason.
Overall, the team’s focus against these non-conference opponents will need to be on minimizing errors and commanding the ball at the net as they look to prove that they can still run with the rest of the Big 12 Conference.
Game time against Maryland-Eastern Shore will be 3 p.m. Sept. 7 at the Coliseum.