This past weekend, the SPU women’s volleyball team finished off their last two home games for the season as they welcomed Western Washington University on Thursday and Simon Fraser on Saturday.
First off, the SPU volleyball squad faced the nationally ranked Vikings at Royal Brougham Pavilion on Nov. 9.
The Falcons pushed the No. 8 Vikings to the brink, winning the first and fourth sets, but they fell short in the final few points of the fifth.
The scores were 25-21, 25-20, 25-21, 25-15 and 15-13.
Despite the loss, the Falcons put out some career highs across the board.
Setter Symone Tran dished out 68 assists for the night while her previous career best was 58 assists.
Middle blocker Gabi Stegemoller slammed 15 kills and hit .625, both career highs for the first-year athlete.
Rounding out the career highs was libero Amanda Ganete with 35 digs with her previous being 31 digs.
Outside hitter Gabby Oddo led the offense with 21 kills while teammate outside hitter Hannah Lautenbach was close behind with 20 kills of her own.
Middle blocker Shaun Crespi contributed greatly both on the offensive and defensive ends of the game. She slammed 11 kills and blocked seven of Western’s kill attempts.
Lautenbach passed up 26 digs while Tran passed up 17 of her own.
“I think that Thursday’s game was one of the best games that our team has played,” said Tran. “It was really high-level volleyball. We came out with a bunch of fire and wanted to defend our home court. I could not be more proud of my team because we played our best game.”
SPU led in most of the categories of the game despite the loss. They had 14 more kills and digs than Western, as well as 20 more points in hitting percentage and three more points in blocks.
Even with large contributions from all the Falcons, Western was able to score the final three points of the fifth and final set which determined the overall outcome of the game.
However, it is no easy task taking a nationally ranked team to the final few points.
“Each person on our team just stuck to the game plan, and we focused on what we could do to expose the weaknesses of Western,” said Stegemoller. “I think we all just went in with the mentality that we were going to go down swinging, and we had nothing to lose.”
In their final home debut, the Falcons took down Simon Fraser in four sets.
This was a special night for the Falcons, as the three seniors on the squad got to play in their final match in Royal Brougham Pavilion.
The seniors did not go out unnoticed. Senior outside hitter Hannah Lautenbach had 14 kills for the night and one which set up the match point of the fourth and final set.
Senior libero Sophie Kuehl ended the game with a service ace, totalling three aces for the night. Senior outside hitter Colleen Hannigan contributed seven kills, as well as three blocks.
The Falcons dropped only the second set to Simon Fraser, the scores being 25-22, 25-19, 25-16 and 25-20.
Outside hitter Gabby Oddo was a powerhouse for the Falcons, slamming down 17 kills accompanied by 18 digs.
Teammate middle blocker Shaun Crespi had seven kills and four blocks for the night.
Setter Symone Tran dished out 50 sets and passed up 26 digs. This is Tran’s 16th double-double this season.
Additionally, Tran is only six sets away from notching her 3,000th career set.
Libero Amanda Ganete passed up 29 digs, helping SPU on the defensive end.
After tonight, Lautenbach has moved her way into the top ten of SPU’s all-time points scored by an individual player. She now has 1,119 points total.
The seniors, Lautenbach, Kuehl and Hannigan, are not only incredible assets to the team, but also are leaving a big impact on their teammates.
“The three seniors are absolutely amazing people,” said Stegemoller. “They treat everyone with such kindness and care, and their leadership on our team has made a huge difference.
They have just been great role models for how to be a kind person and an effective leader.”
“All three of them are some of the most genuine and caring people I know, and it is going to be hard without their influence next season,” added Tran.
After this week, the Falcons are overall 13-13 and 8-10 in the GNAC.
Looking ahead, the Falcons will finish off their season on the road against Western Oregon on Thursday and against Concordia on Saturday.