Tigers win one in Hokie Classic
Towson went 1-2 this past weekend at the Hokie Classic. The Tigers (5-2) lost to Virginia Tech (4-2) 3-0 and Middle Tennessee (3-4) 3-1 and beat Harvard (0-3) 3-0.
Head Coach Bruce Atkinson said that the team struggled over the weekend and that the losses revealed what the team needed to work on.
Atkinson said that the team had a hard time against Virginia Tech because of the size of the team and the fact that the players were able to get above the Towson block.
“The Middle Tennessee match was a disappointing loss for us,” he said. “We felt that had we played our normal game, we could have fared much better, but in both of those two matches, we had a really hard time getting everyone on the same page at the same time. Finally in that last match we were able to be a little more effective with the offense that we want to run.”
Junior outside hitter Katy Back came back from a disappointing game Tuesday. She recorded 37 kills, including 14 against Middle Tennessee and Harvard.
“I thought she was pretty consistent and I thought that she did a nice job staying aggressive throughout the weekend,” Atkinson said. “She had struggled with her back row attack over the previous weekend and I thought she did a nice job in that area. I thought that her passing was the best it’s been for the year and so we’re very optimistic about that.”
Despite the match outcomes not always going in their favor, the Tigers had a good hitting weekend. Senior middle blocker Alysha McCreary recorded 25 kills, 17 of which coming against Middle Tennessee.
Junior middle blocker I’ishah Keliikoa recorded 15 kills, with no hitting errors against Harvard. Senior middle blocker Karolina Sawaniewcz had 21 kills and was one of three Tigers who recorded double-digit kills against Harvard.
Junior outside hitter Dayane Van Ass had another up-and-down weekend, recording 25 kills. Atkinson said that he expects her to be a starter with the team as the season progresses and that her biggest struggles came because Virginia is a tough team.
“She struggled in the first match, but [against Middle Tennessee] she did fairly well and then I thought she did really well [against Harvard]. I think everybody struggles a little bit against Virginia Tech, but for whatever reason, in that match, she didn’t have much power behind her attack so she struggled a little bit.”
Another area that suffered for Towson was the team block. The team recorded only one against VT, 6.5 against Middle Tennessee and two against Harvard.
“We’ve been working on it a lot over the last two weeks and so we were a little disappointed in that,” Atkinson said. “I wouldn’t say it’s an area that’s of huge concern at this point, but it’s definitely a focus that we need to address this week.”
Going into this weekend’s Montana Tournament, Atkinson said that the team needs to not only work on its block, but also keep up offense a bit more consistently. He said that the team progressed as the tournament went on, but that there’s still room for improvement.
“I don’t think that we’re far away from being an effective blocking team, but we do need to work on where we set our block up,” he said. “Other than that we just need to work on the different combinations that we want to run in our offense attack. We tried a lot of different things this weekend because we’re really trying to focus on using these tournaments to prepare for conference play.”