It was a weekend full of sweeps for the Maryville College volleyball team, and the Scots were on the winning end more often than not.
Maryville (4-3) finished the two-day Roanoke Invitational with three victories in four matches. The Scots opened with a 25-8, 25-10, 25-16 win over Greensboro on Friday, but Roanoke evened Maryville’s tournament record with a 25-20, 25-15, 25-21 win later on Friday.
The Scots rebounded Saturday with a 25-10, 25-15, 25-16 win over Ferrum and a 25-15, 25-20, 25-19 win over Hollins.
“I was very pleased with our performance,” coach Kandis Schram said. “The girls battled very well. Naturally you want to come in winning everything, but we got better. The girls made adjustments. We got to see a little more from different people so it was a good thing.”
A strong offense highlighted the weekend. The Scots registered 144 kills on 362 attempts and had an attack percentage of .260. The biggest contributor to that high success rate was middle blocker Dejane Hester-Taylor. She had 29 kills and two errors on 46 swings for an absurd attack percentage of .587.
Hester-Taylor hit a high percentage in the first weekend, too, and now leads the USA South Athletic Conference at .438. Only one other player in the conference is above .350.
When a middle blocker has success it often means the team is playing defense well enough to open up the offense.
“It’s something we’ve worked really hard for her to be very effective,” Schram said. “For her to be effective means we have to pass more effectively. We were able to get her the ball a little bit more. That is a tremendous accomplishment.”
“This weekend is going to be a big test. Salem, Guilford and NC Wesleyan are are three very good teams that could really stretch us. I’m anxious in a good way to see how we stack up against that.”
Maryville won’t begin conference play until late this month so the Scots are still looking for the combination of players that work best. That includes finding a third outside hitter behind Brianne Sidner and Maggie Matthews and bringing along a right side hitter that can be consistent.
They’ll have a chance to do that this weekend with three matches at the Guilford Invitational in Greensboro, North Carolina.
“This weekend is going to be a big test,” Schram said. “Salem, Guilford and NC Wesleyan are are three very good teams that could really stretch us. I’m anxious in a good way to see how we stack up against that.”
Soccer teams struggle to score
On the season’s first weekend, Maryville soccer coach Pepe Fernandez watched his teams score 17 goals in four games. The second weekend was not nearly as productive. The Scots combined to score only one.
Though finishing was an issue and needs to become more consistent, Fernandez gave credit to the level of opponents. The men’s and women’s teams each faced Lynchburg and Roanoke on Saturday and Sunday. The women lost 2-1 and 1-0. The men lost both games 1-0.
“I was happy with the way we played, the way we competed,” Fernandez said. “We have things to improve on obviously, but (all the coaches) though the competition was fantastic. The games could have gone either way.
“The little things that coaches think about can make a difference – one or two subs, on the road, on turf – but I feel as good as you can coming out of the weekend with losses. These are tough weekends, but you need to play them to prepare yourself for the rest of the season.”
The women (2-2) scored the first goal on a shot from Taylor Frizen against Lynchurg, which is five years removed from winning a national championship and ranked 11th in the country this year. The Scots even threatened to score a second goal quickly but instead conceded the equalizer on a rebound.
Fernandez said Frizen played well again for a second consecutive weekend and also highly praised the play of Lexie Hill and goalkeeper Maggie Wilson.
The men’s team (2-2) failed to score in either game, but Fernandez said he left impressed by the Scots’ performance in the center of the park.
They faced Roanoke a day after Roanoke won by 10 goals and used the majority of its roster. That didn’t stop the Scots’ trio of Trevor McDonald, Chris Fernandez and Aaron Rucker bossing the game. In two games, the midfielders covered 15 miles of ground.
“All we heard about was Roanoke midfield and our midfield really dominated,” Pepe Fernandez said.
The next tests for the men’s team will be road games against Mary Baldwin and Averett to open USA South Athletic Conference competition. The women will face Ferrum and Averett in games that do not count toward the conference record.
Women’s golf sets records
The first season of Anthony Monaco’s coaching tenure is off to a strong start.
The Scots set seven team records at the Rhodes Classic, including the lowest score for a single round when they shot 344 in the opening round. That bested the previous record by one stroke. Maryville placed third out of seven teams Saturday and Sunday at the Links at Galloway in Memphis.
Maryville added a 350 in the next round to set a 36-hole record of 694. It is the first time the team has posted a sub-700 score.
Part of Monaco’s approach involved skill work for a few weeks rather than playing full rounds during practice.
“It speaks volumes for the girls and their work ethic,” Monaco said. “I think we can do better than we did this weekend, honestly. A few of our girls will say that their second round or their first round got away from them a little bit.”
Junior Katelyn Witucki and sophomore Hannah Doherty had the biggest hands in the team records by scoring their own individual records.
In the first round, Witucki set the team record for single-round score at 77. The next day Doherty lowered the record by shooting 76. They are the third and fourth players in school history to break 80.