Outnumbered and outmatched, Mills’ volleyball team saw a sweeping loss to Dominican University on Saturday as a valuable learning experience essential to their growth.
The match, a loss of three games to the Dominican Penguins, showcased the best of Mills’ volleyball while also highlighting their need for consistency. Despite the loss, the team of mostly freshwomen and sophomores refused to be dismayed and look forward to future matches.
Dominican opened the first game aggressively, forcing Mills to fight back though they never managed to catch up. Beautiful spikes by freshwoman Lokemele Davis and senior Kate Paisley were the most memorable, but every point scored was hard-earned. A fast pace carried the game through quickly to a final score of 30-20, in favor of Dominican.
In the next game, Mills came back decisively to earn the first two points. Though Dominican refused to let them hold the lead, Mills tied the game up at 9-9 and answered every point until Dominican pulled ahead at 13. Later in the game, Mills closed the gap down to 22-17 amid vibrant cheering from the stands. Unfortunately a final score of 30-18 Dominican gave the away team a 2-0 game lead in the match.
With confidence likely sparked from the earlier games, Dominican took the first four points of the third game and never relinquished the lead. Though undoubtedly tired, Mills played hard, making Dominican fall over themselves chasing the ball off the court for a well-earned point as well as enjoying a short streak of unreturned points. The final game score of 30-19 Dominican was met with equanimity and good sportsmanship.
The disparity between the teams was never more obvious than when Dominican constantly subbed in new players from their 14-woman roster, half of which were upperclassmen. With one brief exception, the six Mills starters played the entire match. Sophomore Christina Walker temporarily left the second game after an injury but quickly came back with more determination than ever. Other starts included Davis, Paisley, sophomore Nadia Ghani, senior Nikki Fitzgibbon and freshwoman Vaughan Bradley-Willeman. Beginning with a roster of only 11 women, the team has taken a major hit with three current injuries.
That same determined optimism was evident when Ghani said, “We had a great game and a lot of fun. We look forward to seeing them again in a few weeks and bringing it even more.” The rest of team agreed.
Coach Marla Mundis said the team played well and that “though they can step it up, they met their goals.” She was enthused about the season, and very emphatic on how proud she continues to be of the team.