Volleyball drops all three at Buffalo Blue and White Tourney

by Kelly Hanen | 9/16/12 10:00pm

The Dartmouth women's volleyball team traveled to Buffalo, N.Y., this weekend to take part in the Buffalo Blue and White Tournament. The Big Green faced off against tournament-host University at Buffalo, State University of New York as well as Syracuse University and the University of Hartford. The team lost all three games, falling to Buffalo in five sets and Syracuse and Hartford in four.

The Big Green (1-8) dropped its first two sets against the Bulls to start off the tournament on Friday. Though Dartmouth came back to win the next two sets, the team could not finish out the game in the fifth set. The Big Green fell 25-23, 27-25, 20-25, 20-25, 15-11.

"We're disappointed, but we made a lot of progress this weekend," middle blocker Elisa Scudder '14 said. "As a team, we were still happy with what we were able to accomplish preparing for the Ivy season."

Scudder and outside hitters Alex Schoenberger '15 and Paige Caridi '16 all tallied double digit kills in the match, while Caridi, setters Lucia Pohlman '15 and Kayden Cook '16 and libero Holly Harper '15 all earned 10 or more digs in the match.

The Big Green came out strong against Syracuse the next day, taking an early lead after prevailing 25-17 in the first set. However, Dartmouth could not keep up the momentum, dropping the next three sets and match, 25-15, 25-22, 25-13.

Dartmouth brought its eight-game road trip to a close against Hartford on Saturday. After dropping the first two sets, the Big Green battled back to win the third and force the Hawks into a fourth set. Despite its attempts to battle back, the Big Green did not get the win, losing 25-18, 25-20, 16-25, 25-14.

"We lost all three matches, but this [non-conference schedule] compared to last season, we've been able to play against better teams," captain Alissa Santa Maria '13 said. "It's been a process, but in the overall picture, all that matters is winning Ivies."

Dartmouth finished fourth in the Ivy League last season in its first season under head coach Erin Lindsey, marking the program's highest finish since 2007.

Schoenberger led the Big Green with 20 kills between the two Saturday matches, while Scudder totaled 16 kills and nine blocks. Caridi helped the team with 18 kills and 15 digs, while Cook added 61 assists and three service aces. Harper totaled 20 digs on the day to lead the Big Green. Scudder was named to the all-tournament team, her third such honor of the season. She was also named to the all-tournament team at the season-opening UConn Toyota Classic and the Sacred Heart Tournament last weekend.

Santa Maria said that while the Big Green did not struggle in one specific facet of the game in Buffalo, the team allowed its matches to get away from them by making mistakes at inopportune moments.

"Really, it was just making unforced errors," Santa Maria said. "Not just missing serves, but maybe miss a serve, then hit a ball into the net. It was stringing errors together or making them at the wrong time giving the other teams momentum."

Scudder added that the size of teams such as Buffalo, Syracuse and Hartford presented problems for Dartmouth.

"[We struggled] adjusting to teams that were a little bigger," Scudder said. "We had some problems at the net and getting the kills we needed. It's always tough to work around playing bigger teams."

The Dartmouth women are back in action on Friday at Leede Arena, taking on conference rival Harvard University in the team's home and Ivy opener.

Dartmouth's non-conference schedule offered a chance for the players to grow accustomed to each other's skills, something that is important for a team that played three freshmen and four sophomores against Hartford, compared to just two juniors and one senior.

"We're definitely a young group," Scudder said. "We're getting used to playing with each other, which has affected our record, but I don't think our record is going to predict how we're going to do in [Ivy League play]."

Santa Maria is confident that Dartmouth will be able to start its conference schedule off on the right foot against the Crimson (2-7).

"Since I've been here, we haven't lost to Harvard, so that's part of the reason why we're excited," Santa Maria said. "Now is when the record matters and when the wins and losses really count."

Dartmouth is 6-0 against the Crimson since 2009 and will look to extend that streak on Friday.

Advertise your student group in The Dartmouth for free!