Women’s volleyball struggles out of bye

Photo by Davie Wong
Photo by Davie Wong

Soured return

By Davie Wong, Sports Reporter

For some teams, breaks provide the overworked athletes with time off to rest up, but byes can also ruin rhythm and pace. Unfortunately for the Royals, this was of the latter case.

Going into the break off a 0-2 weekend, the team had looked like they were finding their rhythm, despite the losses. Coming back the team immediately faced off against VIU, one of the best squads in the league.

The games started on Friday evening as VIU came into the Royals court looking to solidify their position at the top of the PACWEST table with two wins. The hosts didn’t make it easy for them.

It was a hard first set to start the series that defined it. VIU got ahead early and the Royals were left to play catch up. The first set barely went to VIU as the Royals almost orchestrated a comeback. This effort was reciprocated by the team in the next set, and this time they were able to take the set away from the grasp of VIU. Strong play from captain Juliana Penner gave the Royals the push they needed to take the second set.

Sadly, that was all they were able to take, as VIU stormed back in the third to take the lead. They rode that momentum into the fourth and were able to close out the game strongly. Their play denied the Royals much of an opportunity to come back.

That trend continued onto Saturday. The Mariners dominated in the opening two sets. However, all was not lost as the Royals roared back to life in the third. They were able to take the next two sets to bring the game to a tie.

Their efforts ultimately fell flat as VIU opened the final set with a 4-point streak. Coming back looked seemingly impossible. That statement proved true as the Mariners closed out the rest of the set well to win the game.

While disappointed in the team’s record as of late (0-4), coach Kyra Iannone believed that there was more to it than just wins and losses. “Our last four games have been against the best teams in PACWEST. It’s just the way our season folded out. We knew it would be hard but it is what it is and we just have to keep on learning and push on through.”

With this weekend in the books, the Royals sit directly in the middle of the PACWEST standings at 5-5. Four points separate them from the second and third place teams while 4 points separates them from the fifth place team. Next week, the women look to pick up a pair of wins against Columbia Bible College Bearcats.