Volleyball Rams triumph over the Salem State Vikings

You don’t need a degree in psychology to understand how crucial the win against Salem State this weekend was for the Lady Rams. Not only did the win balance out the Lady Rams record to 8-8 on the season, but it also boosted the player’s confidence in a great way going into October, which is the most important month on the schedule to hit the top form. First of all, October is the month with the most GNAC matches so if they want to make the playoffs, this is where they have to shine. Second of all, the playoffs start at the end of this month and your opponents will be determined by your season record so it is a huge advantage to have your statistics reflect much more of the letter “W” as opposed to the letter “L”. If you do well in October you are pretty much set for the GNAC knock out tournament anything can happen.

In order for the team to have an outstanding October the Lady Rams must be  100 percent focused throughout all matches. Earlier this season the Rams started a match very well, but then lose focus and end up losing the match. This couldn’t happen in October if Suffolk volleyball wants to make it to the playoffs this year. Having an 8-8 record, the  Lady Rams have their fate entirely in their own hands at this point of the season and there is a sense of fearless optimism in the team. Even though the Lady Rams are 0-2 in the GNAC conference right now, they are not afraid of any of their opponent teams.

If the team comes up with performances like the one against Salem State this weekend, the volleyball ladies can go very far this year. In the first set of the match the  Lady Rams demonstrated power play at it’s, best crushing Salem 25-14. The second set was nothing but a nail-biter that required extra long nails to bite for this one as Suffolk lost 22-25.

Photo courtesy of Suffolk Athletics

Things continued to go downhill for the Lady Rams as they lost the third set 15-25. Now it was time for a comeback and realizing the seriousness of the situation Suffolk did not take any more risks and took home the fourth set 25-10. The fifth and final set was played to the score of 15 and not 25 as a sort of overtime play. Here the prognosis of the match was very unclear for a long time until the Lady Rams pulled through with a hard fight and the enormous will to win as the talented freshman Savannah Carpenter and experienced senior Hailey Atkinson both achieved 15 points for Suffolk. This combination of strong individual performances and a great team effort is what can lead the Rams to the playoffs this year. Head coach Kristine Mickelson was very happy with the victory: “It was a good win. I know that when we play teams more than once in a season, the losing team will always be out for revenge, looking to take a win. Salem definitely improved since the last time we faced them, it was encouraging to see my team adjust and execute.”

There are only two games (both non-conference) left of September for the ladies before the crucial conference games start piling up day after day and it looks like the  Lady Rams are ready to take on the challenge of reaching the prestigious playoffs. “We have some incredibly important games coming up. Only 13 left in this season, which doesn’t leave us with much room for error. We basically have to win every match from here on out to secure a spot in the GNAC playoffs. Next Tuesday we face Rivier, which is always a top team in our conference. It will be a really big game for us in terms of how determined we are to win and be in the championship tournament.” Mickelson said.

Rivier is certainly a team to watch out for. The team is top seeded in the GNAC conference having posted a 10-5 record at this point of the season. The Raiders have defeated mighty teams such as Babson and Trinity which sends a clear message to all of the GNAC teams: Rivier are going for nothing less than the GNAC title. On the other hand statistics and “on the day performances” can from time to time be two very different things. The Lady Rams know that they have to perform hundred percent in a match and that is exactly what they have done more of this season than the previous seasons.

“The past two seasons we’ve finished 11-18, if we can pull ahead into a winning record, I will be happy. We have solid teams throughout the rest of our contests, and Albertus Magnus on 26, which I know they will have improved, and will be looking to take a win from us. We just need to have more determination than the teams we face, and we should be able to put up a good fight.”

The Lady Rams can very well finish the season with a winning record for the first time in years if they play their best in the rest of the season, but for now they have to think about one game at a time. Next stop are the games against Eastern Nazarene and Mass. Maritne on Saturday Oct. 5th. It’s time to Ram up for October.