By Pat Mariboe
The Shorewomen started off their season in dominant form, capturing a perfect 4-0 record at the DeSales Invitational in Center Valley, Pa., last week.
On day one of the tournament, the team faced off against Gwynedd Mercy and Baruch, winning 3-0 in each match. In their first match of the day against Gwynedd Mercy, the Shorewomen started off strong and didn’t look back, as they won each set 25-13, 25-13, and 25-17. In their second match of the day against Baruch, the opposition put up a fight, but the Shorewomen managed to cruise to another 3-0 victory, winning each set 25-16, 25-18, and 25-17.
On day two, the Shorewomen were put to the test against the home team DeSales. They fell in the first set 25-22, but bounced back in the second set in dramatic fashion, as the standout duo of junior Kaitlyn Marino and senior Alaina Geissberger helped seal the 28-26 victory. They used the momentum from the second set to squeeze by in the third set 25-19.
The Bulldogs managed to find their footing and won the fourth set 25-19. It all came down to the fifth and final set, as senior Taylor Horan put in a heroic performance to lead her team to a 15-13 fifth set win and come out on top with a final score of 3-2. Things only went up from there, as the Shorewomen went on to win their final match of the tournament against Rutgers-Camden 3-0.
The Shorewomen’s memorable performance led them to their second DeSales Invitational tournament title in three years. Marino was named the MVP of the tournament and later was named Shorewoman of the Week.
“It was pretty crazy to be awarded the Desales Invitational MVP,” Marino said. “Not only was there some quality competition at the invitational, but I think that our entire team played well and it could have gone to multiple people. To then be awarded Shorewoman of the Week was awesome because it means that our campus recognized it as well.”
Geissberger also joined Marino with tournament honors. She was named to the all-tournament team for her stellar performance.
“To be named to the all-tournament team for the second year in a row at the DeSales Invitational was very exciting,” Geissberger said. “I am very proud and ecstatic to receive this award and I am glad that all the hard work from the beginning of the season has paid off.”
The Shorewomen looked to prove a point when they traveled to Goucher midweek. The Gophers stood no match for the in-form Shorewomen, as the team went on to win in three sets 25-13, 25-18, and 25-13. Freshman Abby Smith was a standout performer for the Shorewomen, recording a team-high eight digs in the win. This win also brought them to a 5-0 record for the second time in three years.
“We’re very excited to be 5-0 to start the season,” Marino said. “As a team we’re really trying to work on being consistent in the gym and fine-tune a couple things. We recognize that when we play our game and speed that we do well so it’s really a matter of continuing to do that. We’re very excited for our matches coming up, especially to be on our home court tomorrow, and are eager to start Centennial Conference play.”
The Shorewomen have a mixture of youth and experience this season, as returning seniors Geissberger, Horan, Amy Rohn, Emily Houck, and Sarah Bentley will be leading the charge for the team, as well as helping the promising seven new freshmen adapt to college play.
“From the first five games we have played I see a lot of promise for our team,” Geissberger said. “This year we brought in a lot of new talent with the freshman class and I am very excited to see what else they have in store for us. Of course, there is still plenty of room for improvement, but I am confident that if we keep up the competition and give it our all every game and practice we will be successful. I believe we will be able to thrive in our next few matches and even important Conference games coming up in the future, based off the hard work put in so far.”
The Shorewomen were looking forward to ending their long journey on the road and playing on their newly renovated court this weekend against Shenandoah and Notre Dame of Maryland. The first match of the day against Shenandoah was a highly-contested match between two powerhouse teams. Shenandoah won the first set 25-22, but the Shorewomen fired back, winning the second set 28-26. The two teams continued to spar, as the Shorewomen won their second consecutive set 25-19 before Shenandoah tied things up with a 25-22 fourth set win. Things seemed all but finished in the fifth and final set as Shenandoah led the Shorewoman 14-11 and were one point away from victory. A remarkable rally by the Shorewomen carried them to a monumental 17-15 victory, resulting in a 3-2 match win.
The Shorewomen had a short period of rest before they went back at it against Notre Dame of Maryland in their second match of the day. The Shorewomen breezed through the first set 25-13 and narrowly won the second set 25-21 after a gritty performance from both teams. It was a similar story in the third set, as the Shorewomen recorded a second 25-21 win to complete the sweep over Notre Dame of Maryland.
The victory bell rang on Saturday after the Shorewomen clinched a perfect 7-0 start to the season.
“I think that we definitely have a good team dynamic,” Rohn said. “We have a lot of returners and a lot of freshmen and we’ve really meshed well together. For our goals, we definitely want to make Conference playoffs. That’s a goal that we’ve had for the past few years, and I really think that we can make it there this season.”