SFU volleyball finishes season in style

SFU volleyball started the year with victories over Seattle Pacific Falcons and Saint Martin’s Saints, and they finished the year in the same fashion. Back to back 3–0 and 3–1 wins over the Saints and Falcons respectively pushed the Clan over the .500 mark, finishing the season with a 15–13 record.

In their penultimate match against GNAC cellar dwellers Saint Martins, SFU was led by Tessa May, who had 11 kills and three blocks that night. Her sister Devon also had a strong outing, with eight kills and an ace.

The season finale against the SPU Falcons proved a stronger test. After a close first set that finished 25–23, the Clan kicked it into fifth gear and smoked the Falcons 25–9 in the second. After halftime, though, SPU came out swinging and took the third 25–21. The Clan recovered in the fourth, and finished off their season by winning 25–19.

SFU only lost one set in their final two matches. Commenting on the team’s defensive dominance, Head Coach Gina Schmidt said, “this was the second time we’ve played both teams and we were able to learn and take away some things from the first time we played them, and that helped us positionally and to know who their hitters were.”

Indeed, throughout the year defense was probably the most powerful part of SFU’s game. Libero Alison McKay was a standout player in that department, and was subsequently voted GNAC Defensive Player of the Year.

“I think first and foremost, her work ethic is unmatched,” said coach Schmidt. “Her teammates have the utmost respect for her because every day in practice she pushes herself.

“She has a very calm demeanor about her, so even when the pressure is on she’s able to stay cool and collected. I think that keeps other people around her very composed as well.”

At the beginning of the season, SFU was getting mixed results. However, by the end of the season, the Clan had won six of their last seven and had become one of the hottest teams in GNAC. Much of this coach Schmidt attributed to a large amount of injuries that the SFU squad sustained in the middle of the season.

“We did have injuries to four different starters throughout the season. [. . .] We had a variety of different lineups, which is a credit to the depth on our team, that we were able to put out those lineups and still come away with victories in a lot of cases.”

Commenting on the year as a whole, coach Schmidt labelled the season a success. “We basically lost five starters from last year’s team [. . .] we had a true freshman starting, a couple sophomores, so it was a reasonably young team. Considering that we didn’t drop off at all compared to last season, I think it was a success.”

With a strong, experienced core returning next year, along with some new recruits, the Clan volleyball squad will have even higher expectations and will be looking to continue their winning ways in 2016.

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