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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

A look at Quinnipiac volleyball’s momentus fourth set vs. Iona

The 32-30 back-and-forth battle clinched the victory in four sets for the Bobcats on Sept. 30.
Cameron Levasseur
The Quinnipiac volleyball team comes together after a play against Iona on Sept. 30, 2023.

NEW ROCHELLE, NY. — Things looked pretty bleak at the Hynes Athletic Center in New Rochelle, New York. The vibes were off. Quinnipiac volleyball was up two sets to one against the Iona Gaels, but not for long. 

The Bobcats won the first two sets quite convincingly, but the third set slipped away. If they keep playing the way they’ve been, the fourth set will too. Junior hitter Alexandra Tennon hits a ball out of bounds. The score is now 24-20 in favor of Iona. Just one more point for the Gaels, and this match is headed to a winner-take-all fifth set. 

So the stage is set. Unbeknownst to the 282 in attendance, this set is nowhere close to being over. 

Facing set point, Quinnipiac head coach Kyle Robinson has a timeout left. He doesn’t use it. 

“There’s nothing to use it for,” Robinson said. “What’s there to talk about? Just gotta go out there and execute.”

So like the worst movie cliche, when it looked like the Bobcats fell off the mountain, they took hold of the rocks and started to climb. 

Two quick kills from Italian sophomore hitter Ginevra Giovagnoni to make it 24-22. She already had 16 kills on the day, what’s two more?

Iona calls a timeout, its head coach Andy Mueller looking to find some semblance of peace for his squad before they step back onto the court. 

The pressure is still on Quinnipiac at this point. The Bobcats are the ones who are defending conference champions looking to remain undefeated in MAAC play in 2023. The Gaels are just trying to force a fifth set, no biggie. 

But yes biggie. A very big biggie. 

Two quick mistakes. A bad set and an attack error from Iona bring Quinnipiac all the way back. 

If one said the Bobcats came back in the blink of an eye, that would be incorrect. Who blinks for that long? However, that 4-0 run makes it a brand-new match, 24-24. Win by two, that is all. 

Iona senior middle blocker Jen Soto gets a kill on the Quinnipiac defense. It’s 25-24. 

Quinnipiac sophomore middle blocker Bailey Brashear delivers a kill right back at the Gaels. All tied up.

Soto fires back. Another set point at 26-25. 

Giovagnoni’s turn. Another two kills. Both were served up on a platter by the sophomore captain, setter Damla Gunes. Unfathomably, it’s match point. The Bobcats lead 27-26, their first lead in the set since it was 11-10. 

Iona’s bench continues to send sophomoric chirps and chants Quinnipiac’s way. It’s relentless, but it’s their style. The Bobcats don’t feel like listening to what the Gaels have to say.

“They do it to everybody,” Gunes said. “I don’t mind. I don’t hear voices when I’m playing.”

Like two titans battling it out, Iona and Quinnipiac throw scoring bunches at each other back and forth. Two points for the Gaels, 28-27. Another two kills from Giovagnoni, 29-28. 

The crowd’s average heart rate is probably in the 150s. At this point, it is reasonable to think that this is the highest-scoring set any of these players have ever seen. But it doesn’t end there. 

After a supposed kill from Brashear, Quinnipiac believes it has won the set that would never end. With the help of a video review, the officials say no. It’s still 29-28. 

Reviews took a toll on the match, and more importantly, everyone’s patience. One earlier in the set took nearly five minutes to complete. 

“It’s the nature of the beast right now,” Robinson said. “I don’t care either way. I just want them to get it right.”

Iona takes what it’s given and its senior libero Hope Matschner harkens back to her days as a hitter and gets a kill, tying it back up 29-all. 

Giovagnoni gets a kill. 30-29. 

Iona gets a kill. 30-all.

Giovagnoni again. 31-30. Her 10th kill in the fourth set alone. 

Sophomore hitter Ginevra Giovagnoni readies for a serve against the Iona Gaels on Sept. 30, 2023. (Cameron Levasseur)

She is the hero, but she wasn’t the one to end it. 

Instead of a fierce kill or a daft service ace, the match ends on an attack error from Iona senior setter Tamara Pichardo. An unceremonious end to one of the highest-scoring sets in recent Quinnipiac memory. The Bobcats win the fourth set 32-30 and the match three sets to one. 

There was a lot that could have been better. The Bobcats could have committed fewer errors. They could have chosen not to wait until set point in the fourth set to show some fight and passion. For a group of champions, they played as if they were still searching for one.

“We’re not playing sharp when we need to,” Robinson said. “When you’re the hunted and you’ve been at the top, people want what you want. They want to be us in some form or fashion so we’ve got to play more consistently and better than we showed tonight.”

Regardless, Quinnipiac won. The Bobcats are now 5-0 in MAAC play for the first time since 2016. The Bobcats play Manhattan on Sunday at 3 p.m. Maybe they’ll play better then. But for today, they played quite a set of volleyball. 

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About the Contributors
Michael LaRocca
Michael LaRocca, Opinion Editor
Cameron Levasseur
Cameron Levasseur, Sports Editor

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