Volleyball staying alive

The volleyball team huddles together after a point last Thursday. The Lady Tigers lost to Robert Morris 3-1 in the CCAC semifinals but will continue postseason play having won the regular season conference title. Photo by Olivia Zimmer.

By Rachel Kearney

Sometimes, teams get second chances.

Last year, that was not the case for the volleyball team after they won the CCAC regular season championship but failed to win the tournament. This year, the team did the same thing, falling to Robert Morris 3-1 on Nov. 10.

But unlike last year, the Lady Tigers get to move on as they host Grand View (Iowa) for the opening round of the NAIA national tournament this Saturday.

“We’re extremely focused on the opening round this week,” said junior middle and outside hitter Carolyn Goettsch.

Olivet goes into the tournament with a 28-12 record. They played several top teams this year, including Columbia University (Mo.), who was ranked No. 4 in the NAIA poll when the Lady Tigers lost in three sets on Oct. 9.

The competition proved to benefit the team as their confidence grew. But it was not the only thing that gave the team an edge this year.

“We worked our butts off last spring,” Goettsch said. “We had to get tougher, and this year we’ve definitely improved mentally.”

Several players, including senior libero DeeAnn Garvin, led that effort. Garvin was named the CCAC Libero of the Year as well as the co-player of the year.

She was joined on the all-conference first team by sophomore setter Rachel Raynor and senior middle hitter Molly Goldbach, who tore her ACL in practice before senior night on Nov. 1. Goettsch and senior outside hitter Teresa Byrne were named to the second team.

While Goettsch said it was nice for her teammates and her to be recognized, they are still keeping their focus.

“Everybody [we face] is really good at this point,” she said. “It’s a really great privilege to play at such a high level.”

And while they know the competition will be tough, players know they can still do well.

“We feed off each other’s energy,” Goettsch said. “And when we’re cohesive, we’re unstoppable.”

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