The Memorial Sea-Hawks women’s volleyball team started the new year Monday night the way the old year ended — underachieving and searching for consistency and perhaps an identity.
The uninspired Sea-Hawks fell to 2-7 on the season, losing 3-1 to the St. Francis Xavier X-Women in Atlantic Universities Sport (AUS) play at the Field House.
The home side opened the match with a 25-23 first-set victory, but then fell like dominoes by scores of 25-13, 25-19 and 25-21 in the next three sets.
The fourth-place X-Women improved to 4-6.
The teams play again 10:30 this morning and no admission will be charged for the game.
MUN had to come from behind to take the first set, but they couldn’t carry that momentum into the second set which was punctuated by poor defence at the end of it.
It was the X-Women, in fact, who were able to build on their momentum in the third set while jumping out to a 7-1 lead. MUN clawed back and got to within one point of the visitors at 11-10, but that’s as close as the Lady Hawks would get.
While the fourth set was close, the Sea-Hawks, who led early, only played well in spots as they did the entire match, and that wasn’t good enough on the night.
“We are struggling,” admitted Memorial coach Bill Thistle after the game.
“We’re fighting the ball. We’re lacking confidence and we’re tight and that happens when you have so many young players on the floor,” he added.
“Right now,” said Thistle, “it’s more about the mental part of the game. The players have to relax and let the game come to them and, when they do, they’ll be fine.”
Angela Peddle led MUN with 11 kills. Jill Snow had eight, Laura Carmanico followed with seven and Chantel Jones, along with Lauren Miller who had 10 digs, each had four kills. Gillian Ricketts had 14 digs.
Catherine Thornton led St. Francis with 18 kills.
“We made it close in three of the four sets, but obviously there are things we need to work on,” said Jones, the Sea-Hawks fifth-year middle.
Jones said despite the fact the team has a guaranteed spot in the playoffs as host this season, “That’s not the way we want to go. We want to earn our spot.”
The Thunder Bay Ont., native said having a bye isn’t a factor for her because, ”I really hate losing. Maybe some of the young players we have need to learn how to dig in. That might help. Right now, we’ve all got to come together.”
Jones said it’s her opinion “We are better than this (St. Francis) team. But I find that when we play teams lower than us we go down to their level. We should have taken them in three sets. I’m confident enough we could have done that,” she said.
“It’s just a matter of us being able to push through, I guess,” said Jones, who noted that not playing in a month could have been a factor in the team’s less than stellar performance.
Asked if she was confident her team could beat the X-Women in the second match of the series, Jones said they could, noting the Sea-Hawks should have won the opener.
However, at this point, that sort of talk would appear to be cheap.
Team GP W L PTS
Dalhousie 11 9 2 18
Moncton 11 6 5 12
Saint Mary’s 11 5 6 10
St. Francis Xavier 10 4 6 8
UNB 12 4 8 8
Memorial 9 2 7 4
Acadia 12 1 10 4
Cape Breton 12 0 12 0