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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Marist snaps Quinnipiac volleyball’s home win streak in a four-set loss

Tyler Rinko
Quinnipiac’s Ginevra Giovagnoni (16) leads the Bobcats with a strong performance in their loss against the Marist Red Foxes on November 4, 2023, totaling 15 kills, 14 digs and two aces.

HAMDEN, Conn — Late in the season, pushing for a first-round bye, Quinnipiac volleyball needed one more win on the season to secure a top-two seed. That game wouldn’t be against Marist, who defeated the Bobcats in four sets on Saturday. 

Quinnipiac had trouble with Marist earlier in the year when it reverse swept the Red Foxes in Poughkeepsie, New York, and they had even more this time around.

The game started all Marist and the team spread the ball around early. Middle blocker Vanessa Zolg, outside hitter Jordan Newblatt and outside hitter Sasha van der Merwe all killed the ball within the first five points of the game. 

On the other hand, the Quinnipiac offense couldn’t get anything going. The Bobcats had nine attack errors in the first set alone; more than they have in some of their more dominant performances this season. They relied heavily on sophomore outside hitter Ginevra Giovagnoni and graduate student opposite hitter Aryanah Diaz, who was just barely on the verge of her 1000th kill as a Bobcat, finishing the day with 998 for her career. 

This led to a dominant blocking performance from Marist, as it was easier for the Red Foxes to make well-informed hard reads on where the ball was going to be.

“(Sophomore setter) Damla (Gunes) set a very elementary game, and that’s how it goes,” head coach Kyle Robinson said. “So when you’re setting a very easy game, where everyone knows where the football is going, or knows who’s going to get to take the last shot, it makes it really easy for other teams to compete against them. That’s the equivalent of what we did today.”

Prospects did look up for Quinnipiac in the second set, though. The Bobcats won by a narrow three points, and it was hard fought until the very end. The set was extremely tight for its entirety, with neither team’s leads ever eclipsing three.

It started out shaky. The Bobcats struggled in their passing game, which was by far their biggest weakness during the whole game. 

“They’re great passers, let’s start with that,” Robinson said. “We just got to focus better, focus more. Our attitude, effort and focus was major for us. It was mediocre today. So I just don’t expect it to be mediocre tomorrow. Or if it is, this same thing could happen.”

The communication on the back line wasn’t there for a couple of points, but down the stretch they got it together. Volleyball is a sport that relies extremely heavily on momentum, and the Bobcats secured that when they forced Marist to take a timeout, still down 19-18. Right out of the timeout, Gunes got an ace to tie up the game. 

Then after a big block from senior middle blocker Lexi Morse, the score was 21-19 in favor of Quinnipiac. After one kill from Giovagnoni, two from Diaz and one final block from sophomore middle blocker Bailey Brashear, the Bobcats put away the set.

Unfortunately for Quinnipiac the third and fourth sets didn’t get any better. The Bobcats kept it very close in the third set, but couldn’t convert in the clutch. 

The final stretch started exactly like the second set, tied at 19. This time, three attack errors between Giovagnoni and Diaz gave Marist the instant advantage, and it cleaned up the set with relative ease. 

In the fourth set Marist jumped out to another large lead. Quinnipiac was able to trade points towards the end, but it was too late. Morse got blocked at the net on another very telegraphed set and the match was over.

What happened after the game was important too, as Robinson was nearly an hour late for his press conference. Quite uncharacteristic of him, but it wasn’t without reason. He had a productive talk with his team about how they need to improve for the last three games in the regular season and not let their collective foot off of the gas.

“It was constructive. I’m not a huge yeller. Even in the matches, and you see me yelling, it’s purposeful,” Robinson said. “I think part of our issue as a team and with our program is sometimes we’re too nice and we don’t fight all the time. So even in the matches when I’m kind of yelling it’s to get someone’s blood boiling. So even our post match talks, win or lose there’s no yelling and screaming and all that. It’s more like, ‘How can we be better and what are we going to commit to and those sorts of things’. I thought we got a lot out and said a lot of good things and hopefully we grow from them.”

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Tyler Rinko
Tyler Rinko, Associate Photography Editor

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