Volleyball Aces First Two Buttermaker Tests

Friday, September 7, 2012

Lindsey Gambocurta “When you’re the host of a tournament, it’s a big responsibility,” said sophomore Julia Elkin of the Muhlenberg volleyball team. “We have to tell the other teams that this is our home court and we’re going to defend it well.”

The Mules lived up to their responsibility on the first day of the Buttermaker Tournament, sweeping Centenary and King’s to advance to the championship bracket. The only team in the field to make it through pool play without dropping a set, Muhlenberg will face Salisbury and Elizabethtown on Saturday.

One of the keys to the Mules’ Buttermaker success was their serving. They recorded 18 aces – two short of the school record – against Centenary and added 10 more against King’s. Freshman Chelsea Kaser led the ace parade with a total of 13.

When Muhlenberg (6-1 for the first time since 2008) wasn’t serving aces, it was still making it tough for opponents to set up their attack. And the Mules took care of when they were on the other side of the service, especially in the King’s match, when they gave up only two points on aces.

“We’re always working on serve and serve receive – I think those are the keys to women’s volleyball,” said Elkin. “We did a great job finding all the open spots and not giving easy balls. Serves are something we can control.”

The Mules were in control in both matches, rarely facing a deficit. In the 25-18, 25-18, 25-11 win against Centenary, junior Morgan Duggan and sophomore Lindsey Gambocurta (right) combined to hit 70 percent, with 14 kills and no errors in 20 attempts. Duggan had a career-high nine kills.

Muhlenberg played even better against a King’s team to which it lost a set at last weekend’s Greyhound Premiere Invitational, winning 25-15, 25-15, 25-13. Sophomore Holly Hynson led the way with 10 kills in only 18 attempts. Freshman Joanne Josephson added seven kills without an error in 13 tries, while classmate Sarah Weyhmuller recorded kills on five of her 11 swings.

Elkin led the defense with 10 digs and added a pair of service aces.

“I’m really proud of our team,” said Elkin. “Even from the first match to the second, we improved tremendously. Our chemistry was great that second match, and by the end we felt we had command.”

The Mules will need another command performance as they seek their first Buttermaker title since 2005.
Click here for box scores.
Click for complete stats: Centenary match | King’s match
Click here for the tournament page.