Quinnipiac volleyball hosts Canisius on senior day, falls in straight sets


Photo Courtesy: Liz Flynn

Mike Dalton, Volleyball Beat Reporter

All eyes were on Kat Miller on Saturday afternoon at Burt Khan court, and it wasn’t because Miller was the only senior on senior day for the Quinnipiac volleyball team.

It’s because she came into the match 18 kills shy of 1,000 career kills, a career milestone.

The Bobcats welcomed the Canisius Golden Griffins to Hamden to kick off the final weekend of the regular season in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC).

“(Canisius’) blocking schemes are really good,” Quinnipiac volleyball head coach Kris Czaplinski said. “As part of getting ready for them, it’s all about how we can move our offense to find their holes.”

The Bobcats and Griffins began the first set neck-and-neck.

Bobcats freshman middle hitter Lydia Jones tied the set for the tenth time on a set-up from Maria Pansari. But being the second best team in the MAAC, the Golden Griffins shifted into second gear and took the first set from the Bobcats 25-21.

Twelve of the 25 points scored by the Golden Griffins were either attack, service, or ball handling errors made by the Bobcats. Kat Miller lead the Bobcats in kills with four. At this point, Miller needed 14 more kills to get to 1,000.

“Our passing for the most part was there and our setting as well,” Czaplinski said. “I thought Maria (Pansari) did a good job of distributing the ball evenly. We had a tough time with their blockers sitting on our hitters, and we couldn’t get the angles we wanted.”

The tables turned in the second set.

The Bobcats started to settle into the match, while the Golden Griffins committed nine total errors. Defensively, the Golden Griffins did a good job shutting down the middle hitters offensively for the Bobcats, which according to Czaplinski, isn’t usually a problem for the team.

The Golden Griffins looked like they were going to pull away again at the end of the second set when they took a 23-19 lead. But a few plays later, sophomore right-side/outside-hitter Morgan Sherwin got the kill to tie the set at 23 apiece. The Golden Griffins called their first timeout of the day, and got the next two points on a kill from senior middle-hitter Sara Wesley and a service ace from junior middle hitter Leah Simmons to win the second set 25-23 and take a 2-0 lead.

Miller got four more kills to put her total to eight on the day, which means she needed 10 more to reach 1,000.

But time wasn’t on the Bobcats side as the Golden Griffins would take the third set 25-18 to sweep the Bobcats 3-0. The Griffins limited Miller to two kills in the third set, leaving her eight kills shy of the milestone.

Offensively, the Golden Griffins took care of business with a .462 hitting percentage on 93 total attacks. Wesley lead the Golden Griffins in kills over the course of the match with 12, but Czaplinski praised the Golden Griffins’ senior libero/defensive specialist, Sofia Lopez Acosta after the match.

“(Lopez Acosta’s) going to be an all-conference selection for sure,” Czaplinski siad. “She’ll probably make the first-team as well. She reads the game very well and has that ability to scan the floor while doing her job.”

Acosta lead the Golden Griffins with 11 digs and also recorded four kills and a pair of assists. On the other side of the court, junior libero Alejandra Rodriguez accounted for 14 of the Bobcats’ 26 digs.

“(Alejandra) has the highest volleyball IQ on our team right now,” Czaplinski said. “She has that ability to understand what the setter’s going to do before the setter does it and move into that spot. Her box score doesn’t even do her justice today with some of the unbelievable plays that she was making.”

The Bobcats will try to end on a high note as they wrap their season up on Sunday against the Niagara Purple Eagles, before heading to the Sunshine state to compete in the MAAC Tournament, which will begin on Nov. 15.