Volleyball struggles mentally, ends weekend with win


Photo by Emilee Fails

Senior outside hitter Jordan Dixon performs a spike during the team’s Dig Pink game Friday night against Indiana University Kokomo. The women lost Friday, but bounced back Saturday night with a win against Cincinnati Christian.

Written By Dara Collins, Co-Sports Editor

The volleyball roster boasts a variety of hitters, defensive specialists and setters, some of whom whose talents earned them River States Conference (RSC) recognition previously this season. The team possesses the physical pieces to their puzzle, but there’s one problem that continuously keeps the women from fully clicking: mentality.

“We’re a very mental team, so when we start to lose, everyone shuts down and you can see it on the court,” sophomore middle hitter Jazlyn Rozier said.

Point Park began its three-game stretch against Mount Vernon Nazarene University last Thursday.

The Pioneers faced off against the Cougars earlier this season at the Emileigh Cooper Memorial Tournament resulting in a 2-3 loss. The second match mirrored the first, and Point Park fell once again 21-25, 23-25, 25-19, 25-18 and 10-15.

“We don’t know how to minimize errors on our side,” Rozier said. “The other team was definitely capitalizing on our errors, and they just kept pushing. Once we were down, it’s really hard for us to get out of that.”

Although the Pioneers tied the match after a two-set deficit, the Cougars left the court victorious.

“We caught up with them [in the fifth set] and it was 9-9, and then it was just error after error,” Rozier said. “We just really have to minimize our errors on our side of the court. What we can control, we need to start controlling.”

Junior setter Julia Menosky posted a season-high 48 assists to direct her offense. Senior right-side hitter Ashley Taylor put down 22 kills to lead the Pioneers, senior outside hitter Jordan Dixon followed with 16. The duo finished the match with double-doubles with 17 digs apiece. Senior libero Morgan Dangelo picked up the team-high 24 digs.

The Pioneers had to shake the loss quick as they returned to the next day for an RSC showdown. Point Park hosted Indiana University Kokomo, the top team in the conference, last Friday.

The Cougars were riding a 14-match victory streak before facing the Pioneers, and that streak has since grown to 16. IU Kokomo swept Point Park 25-21, 25-13 and 25-19.

“Our consistency is really not there how it should be,” Rozier said.

The loss snapped Point Park’s seven-match conference win streak and helped extend IU Kokomo’s record to 11-0.

The Pioneers recorded 21 attack errors to the Cougars’s 12. Senior outside hitter Erica Gumz led the offense with nine kills, Taylor came in second with seven and Dixon had five. Menosky dished out 18 assists and junior setter Brittney Bianco helped out with five of her own. The defensive specialists hit double digits with Dixon racking up 15 digs, Dangelo followed with 14 and Castelli with 12.

“We kind of individualized during the IU Kokomo game, and it was like everyone for themselves,”
Rozier said.

As for the final game of the weekend, the Pioneers changed their attitudes to come out with a win.

“We went in to Saturday thinking we’re the better team,” Rozier said.

Point Park welcomed Cincinnati Christian University to the Student Center Gym and sent them home with a 1-3 loss. The Pioneers ended the rocky weekend on a high note, winning 28-30, 25-15, 25-17 and 25-11.

The Pioneers tallied 20 more kills than the Eagles. Junior outside hitter Haley English dominated the net with 19 kills and only one attack error.

“She’s very smart with the ball,” Menosky said. “She placed the ball where their defense wasn’t, and she moved the ball around which made her successful.”

Dixon and Gumz chipped in 12 and 10 kills, respectively. The back row posted another double-digit game with Dangelo picking up 28 digs, Castelli with 23 and Dixon with 14.

“We focused on our side and what we can control,” Rozier said.

The Pioneers have two weeks of the regular season left to seal the gaps in the puzzle. The remainder of the games will take place on the Pioneers’ home court, beginning with Brescia University on Friday and Indiana University Southeast on Saturday.

“We’re really trying to work on everyone coming together and everyone playing as a team,” Rozier said.