The Lumberjacks’ women’s volleyball team opened its season at home with a bang on Thursday, Aug. 31, handling the Academy of Art Urban Knights 3-1(25-17, 25-15, 22-25, 25-21).
Alex Lolland, senior and outside hitter, had a night to remember on what was also her 21st birthday. Lolland had a team high 16 kills. Six of them came in a crucial period when the Lumberjacks were in danger of losing a second straight set.
Humboldt’s use of the drop shot was evident in the first two sets as they repeatedly were able to fool the opposing teams blockers with smart plays, great digs and teamwork. The team won by a combined 18 points in overall set play.
“I used to be a big hitter that used to go up and swing at everyone, but you have to realize between a big fancy swing versus an easy tip is a point-to-point,” Lolland said. “Coach Kelly and Greg have definitely been implementing that in me to be a wiser player.”
The Academy of Art settled down in the third set from what looked like early game jitters and rallied behind strong serving and defense at the net. The Lumberjacks were able to keep the set competitive and went up 20-18, but the Urban Knights held their composure and closed it out on a 7-2 run, winning the third set 25-22.
Knights head coach, Ray Batalon wants his team to start doing the small things right early in the season.
“We were pretty tentative in the first two sets,” Batalon said. “Once we started to serve a little more aggressively and force Humboldt into some bad situations it gave us a few more opportunities.”
The fourth set remained a competitive one as both teams were fighting to keep their record clean in the first game of the season. The Lumberjacks rallied with a 7-1 run but the Knights quickly responded with a 6-1 run of their own. Tied 19-19, HSU was able to close out the set on a 6-2 run giving the team (1-0) its first victory of the season.
Senior setter, Jessica Lammers, and junior setter, Taylor Yancey, each finished with over 20 assists on the night. Lammers and senior libero, Nicole Bianchi, had 13 digs a piece.
HSU head coach, Kelly Wood, is happy with the result of the home opener but knows there is still work to be done.
“In those first two sets we played really well but Academy of Art gave us a lot of our points in those first two sets but we were playing very well on our side of the net,” Wood said. “Playing at a consistent level throughout every set is something that will make us very hard to beat.”
HSU and Academy of Art meet up for the rematch Friday Sep. 1 at Lumberjack Arena. First serve is scheduled for 3 p.m. and HSU students, faculty and staff receive free admission with campus ID.