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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Quinnipiac splits games against Hampton and UMES at Henson Hawk Invitational

Quinnipiac Athletics
Quinnipiac drops to 4-5 before heading into conference play next weekend.

Game 1: Quinnipiac takes down Hampton in straight sets. 

By: Zachary Reagan 

Quinnipiac volleyball set its record to an even 4-4 thanks to a sweep of Hampton Friday; the Bobcats third-straight-win in six days. The 3-0 (25-11, 25-11, 25-10) domination that Quinnipiac put on display in the Hytche Athletic Center in Princess Anne, MD was the most polished they’ve played all season.

After going 1-2 in each of the last two weekends, the Bobcats needed some momentum before heading into MAAC play in just one week. At the Henson Hawk Invitational, Quinnipiac took their first victory over Gardner-Webb in a closer four-set match, but the Bobcats quickly put their play into overdrive when facing Hampton just a few hours later.

The game against Gardner-Webb had taught Quinnipiac a sizable lesson; it had to limit its errors as much as possible. When you look at the Bobcats’ 25 errors next to the Runnin’ Bulldogs’ 17, the difference was handing them a free set win.

As the game started, a crucial position change was made. Junior libero Fa’avae Kimsel Moe made the starting lineup, while graduate outside hitter Aryanah Diaz took her turn on the sideline. Diaz has slid into the libero role over the last couple weeks to begin the season. While Diaz was consistently leading games in digs, the Bobcats were clearly missing her consistency on the offensive end after giving up so many errors against Gardner-Webb. Diaz wouldn’t make her presence known until the end of the second set when she entered the game. 

In her stead was the sophomore outside hitter and Turkish phenom, Yagmur Gunes. Gunes posted a game-high 16 kills, while Hampton as a whole only totaled 10. Armed with a cannon for an arm, Gunes effectively utilized her powerful hitting style so that her teammates, namely sophomore middle blocker Bailey Brashear and freshman outside hitter Leilani-kai Giusta could place their tips and rolls with minimal resistance.

After winning the first set on the backs of Gunes and company. Yagmur’s sister, sophomore setter Damla Gunes, showed out in the second set. Finishing the day with 35 assists, Damla Gunes did a great job of spreading the wealth throughout the whole game, but the acrobatics she pulled off in the second set were otherworldly. Between sets to the back row or designed slide plays, and even running halfway across the court to deliver a perfect back set, Damla Gunes was integral for creating quality chances for her team.

In the third and final set, everyone was getting involved. Despite standing at just five feet, four inches, Diaz finished her day with a modest four kills, but more importantly zero errors, both in hitting and at the service line. Sophomore middle blocker Tuana Turhan made good use of her playing time as well, clocking in four kills and three blocks. 

Things looked rocky for a bit in the third set, with Hampton going up 5-1 early. 

The Bobcats remained composed though, and the Damla Gunes to Giusta connection combined with some terrific serving work from Brashear gave Quinnipiac a 6-5 lead. Finally with some more expert hitting work from Yagmur Gunes and some tricky tipping from Brashear, the Bobcats secured their victory.

With only one more game left before MAAC play begins, Quinnipiac looks poised to sweep its final invitational of the year. The Bobcats are back on Sept. 9 at 2 p.m. when they take on UMES in the final game of the Hensen Hawk Invitational.

Game 2: Quinnipiac swept by UMES in Henson Hawk Invitational finale 

By: Jason Bupp 

In its final non-conference game of the season, Quinnipiac volleyball struggled against the Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks Saturday, falling in straight sets. 

The Bobcats came out strong in the first set, getting the first point in the opening set, establishing what seemed to be a strong presence for the rest of the match. It was hot potato trading points until the game was tied at six, when UMES locked in and began to control play against the reigning MAAC champions. 

Once UMES got ahead by three and the score was 13-10. This was the key to the Hawks success for the rest of the set. They consistently kept a lead up and up, commanding the Bobcats by leaving them with less and less answered points. 

The Bobcats couldn’t seem to keep up with the Hawks, losing the opening set 25-15. The break allowed the Bobcats to generate some much needed motivation, recording three unanswered points in the beginning of the second set. Quinnipiac held a commanding lead until UMES locked in once again tied the set at 17, which led to a long standoff between the two teams. 

The Bobcats quickly answered while doing their best to keep their lead. Eventually they lost their lead and the Hawks went up 20-19. Back and forth the teams traded points for the remainder of the set, bringing the game above 25 each side. 

The Hawks eventually pulled through and won the set 28-26.

The teams went back and forth until an eventual 8-8 tie was broken by UMES, which held a  15-12 lead into the first timeout.. The Hawks continued building on their lead with an eight point run and eventually took the set  25-17 and the match in a clean sweep.

The shutdown was not without a valiant effort by sophomore outside hitter Yagmur Gunes,  who both led the Bobcats in kills throughout the game. 

Outside hitter Lailani-kai Giusta, also showed up with nine kills and four digs in the match. But on the opposite side of the net the  Bobcats collective efforts could not stop first-year head coach Vanessa Faircloth and the Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks. 

The Bobcats fall to 4-5 with the loss, as they look to begin MAAC play  against Niagara in Hamden on Sept. 16 at 1 p.m.

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