Aug. 29, 2009
MOON TOWNSHIP, PA -- The Greyhounds refused to go easily in the last match of the Duquesne/Robert Morris Tournament this weekend. A stellar showing against Radford (2-2) had the Greyhounds (0-4) neck and neck with the Highlanders right up until the final point when Loyola dropped a five-game thriller 3-2 (25-22, 16-25, 27-25, 20-25-14-16).
"That was a fun one," head coach Scott Pennewill said. "That was a hard-fought one that we just needed a few more things to go our way."
Loyola out-hit the Highlanders 57-51 and four Greyhounds recorded match-high stats, three doubling up. Nina Camaioni led all scorers with 16 kills and 14 digs. Karlee Woodward notched 11 kills and a match-high six blocks, three of them solo, also a high for the match. Freshman Katie Dircks had a breakout game with 15 kills, a block, a pair of service aces and tied for a match-high 23 digs with Radford's Lauren Clary and Kiley Kent.
"We have these vets that we're hoping to lead us and (Camaioni) is one of them. With that, she's going to get some opportunities to execute," Pennewill said. "Karlee is working through the pain, giving us some contributions and we're just trying to put her in some impact situations."
Freshman Aubrey Kirven posted her second double-double of the weekend leading all setters with 46 assists and 10 digs. Kirven enjoyed a strong weekend in her Greyhound debut.
"Aubrey did fine being able to run the offense. She's doing a good job physically," Pennewill said. "Mentally, we're going to work on some things to give the offense more consistency."
Consistency was a key factor this weekend, as was accuracy. While the Greyhounds may have out-killed the Highlanders, the three leading scorers had hitting clips of .089 (Dircks), .098 (Camaioni) and .143 (Woodward).
"Hitter consistency was a problem," Pennewill said. "Making too many errors and not utilizing the game plan."
Pennewill relied heavily on freshmen this weekend. Five rookies started most sets and Dircks and Kirven had especially strong weekends in what was their first taste of Division I action. But Pennewill doesn't want to become too reliant on such a young and inexperienced group and faults not just their inexperience but vets' play this weekend as a factor in the losses.
"We just weren't executing. It's not just the freshmen. (Brittany Born) was missing passes, Karlee wasn't hitting anymore. There's a certain expectation level that needs to be up around those types of kids," Pennewill said. "You don't want to put yourselves in a position where the weight of the team is entirely on the freshmen."
The 0-4 open aside, Pennewill said he is impressed so far with what he saw in the team's first tournament of the season. He feels that this group is on the right track but still has some work to put in.
"I think we definitely were able [to compete], and really encouraged to see the potential of the team," Pennewill said. "It's just a matter of creating some consistency."