By Toan P. Do
Women’s volleyball pulled off a convincing win against Dominican University last Friday, when it took the match with a 3-1 final score at home. The Slugs have been chugging along a winning road and many on the team credit this success to newfound team chemistry.
“I think one of the biggest things that we had to do, and what we have done so far, is have chemistry on and off the court,” said defensive specialist and senior Sophie Manoukian. “In the past years it has always been up and down, and for the first time the team definitely has that chemistry [with each other] and the coaches.”
The Slugs showed this chemistry in the first two games, by making quick work of their opponents. They took the first game 25-21, and the second game 25-16. Dominican University showed weakenesses in its defense, giving the Slugs a chance to shine.
Dominican then struck back in third game, squeezing out a 25-22 win, as the Slugs lost some intensity.
“I think we made more unforced errors in the third game and they picked up on our weakness, which is picking up net tips,” head coach Selene Teitelbaum said.
“They definitely came back stronger in the third [game],” team captain and junior Amy Knight said. “We were with them the whole time, but just made a few too many errors.”
Dominican’s success was short-lived, as the Slugs regained their intensity in the final game. The team jelled at the end of the match, building up momentum to eventually take the fourth game 25-20, securing the win and bringing the overall record to 16-5 and 10-4 in Division III.
“Our team chemistry right now is amazing. I think a lot of it has to do with [the fact that] most of us are upperclassmen, and we’ve all been playing together for three years,” Knight said. “These are all my best friends and these are people you see for 10 hours a day, so that definitely helps.”
The Slugs looked comfortable and confident amid the supportive cheering of their home crowd.
Conversely, Dominican seemed a bit on edge having to battle not just a Slug team, but a roudy and almost abusive Slug fan base as well. Jeers, taunts and teases could be heard among the echoes of crowd noise as Sammy the Slug’s muscular body and intimidating gaze looked down from the walls of the West Field House gym.
With this victory over Dominican, the Slugs now look forward to their tournament in Hayward this weekend. The Slugs will be put to the test, as rivals Cal State East Bay will be in attendance.
“East Bay is our biggest rival, so every time we think of regionals we think of [the] East Bay,” Manoukian said.
The Slugs go into this tournament poised, and intent on beating their bitter rivals. More than that, they go into this next game trusting and believing in each other.
“These girls have been playing together for three to four years,” Teitelbaum said. “They are friends off the court and they get along on the court, and they care about each other and play for each other. I think that’s definitely part of the success we’ve had this year, that bond that they have.”