The St. Lawrence University volleyball team lost three sets to one on Friday night at the hands of Rochester Institute of Technology. Due to the defeat, the Saints’ season is over.
“Different people were off their game at different points, and that made it hard to get into a rhythm,” reflected senior Jenna Street. The Saints won the first set by a score of 25-22 but then dropped three consecutive sets 19-25,19-25 and 21-25. “We let the pressure of a playoff game get into our heads, so we ended up playing catch-up a lot,” said Street.
After the first set, St. Lawrence would only have the lead one more time, early in the fourth set. Oftentimes, losses are blamed on lack of effort, but this was not one of those instances. From start to finish every player in a St. Lawrence uniform played with great intensity. “It was really great to see the team fight for every point in every match” said SLU supporter Trevor Bibb. SLU head coach Shelly Roiger disagreed slightly, saying, “We needed to sustain our concentration and energy in the second set a little better.”
On the opposing side, “Sara Szybist, Emma Dowdy, Laiz Novaes and Bethany Davis are probably some of the most notable players on our team,” said RIT coach James Loades in the hours leading up to the match. That quartet made their coach into a visionary by providing 34 of the 56 points scored as well as blocking five of the team’s eight blocked shots. “I’m really proud of the effort our whole team made against a very good St. Lawrence team. We had our best intensity of the season” Loades said after the victory.
The Saints were led by junior Christina Deschaine, junior Lexi Brown, and Street. Deschaine, Brown, and Street combined for 23 of 34 points scored and seven of ten blocked shots. The match was the last in a successful career for Street, whose teammates and coaches showered the three year captain with praise following the match.
“During the game, I was just telling myself to take deep breaths and play the way I knew I could play” Street said. “Jenna will be greatly missed by our program, especially because of her leadership, energy and the fact that she plays with such emotion,” said Roiger, “She is exactly what a student-athlete should be: smart, talented, dedicated and any other label you want. That’s Jenna.”
Despite missing a significant amount of time with a knee injury this season, Street became the second player in SLU history to record 2,000 career assists in the game vs. Hunter College on November 1st. “I don’t think she even knows this, because she doesn’t worry about herself at all, but she just missed 1,000 digs too” Roiger commented. Street finished with 986 career digs, just 14 shy of becoming the eleventh player in school history to accomplish such a feat.
The absence of Street, whom Roiger referred to as the “Mother-hen” of the team, will be felt in the locker room just as much as on the court. “Jenna is our superwoman. She is the ultimate teammate and she has the ability to motivate, inspire, and make us want to work harder for each other” said Junior Marisa Turner.
“St. Lawrence had a pretty good season. I know they struggled with a few different injuries, but they made the best of it and persevered” said DeSales University Volleyball Graduate Assistant and SLU Volleyball alumni Anna Kassab. The Saints finished the season with 24 wins and 13 losses (9 wins and 3 losses in Liberty League play). They also had four members of the team named to the All-Conference teams on Monday, an honor decided via voting among the coaches of Liberty League teams.