FSW Battle of the Beach

FSW Battle of the Beach

For the second time in the last two weeks, the Pioneer Volleyball team took to the road with a tough schedule, this time at the Battle of the Beach tournament in Fort Myers, Florida. Hosted by conference rival FSW, this was a great opportunity to compete against more Nationally Ranked teams that the Pioneers would not normally see. Entering the tournament with a 1-4 record, the River was looking to add some more wins to their total!

Indian River would have their first match at noon on Friday against ranked opponent Central Kentucky. Down a couple players due to illness, they would take the court with a reduced roster and high hopes. They came out aggressive and ready to get some wins, jumping out to an early lead and applying lots of pressure to the Central Kentucky team. The momentum didn't carry through though, as the CKY offense began to heat up, and they would come back to take the first 25-21. The energy and momentum would continue to drop, as sets 2 and 3 were riddled with communication and unforced errors by the River, and would ultimately drop the match in three sets, losing the last two 18-25 and 14-25.

After a rough start, the River was looking to bounce back against their only non-ranked opponent of the tournament, Trinity Valley. Trinity was riding high after taking FSW to extra sets earlier in the day, and it showed as they jumped out to an early lead on the Pioneers. Unable to recollect, the Pioneers lost the first one quickly, 11-25. The River was quick to bounce back however as they fought back behind the powerful arm of sophomore Greta Klotz (15 Kills, 8 Digs) and took the second set 25-21. All square entering the third, the Pioneers were looking to make a move, but could not get the rhythm going and struggled with their communication at points. While they hung around close, they never were able to string points together and they went down to Trinity in four sets. The last two sets finished 19-25 and 17-25.

After a long day of team bonding and some delicious local food, IRSC was back on the court Saturday evening for their second leg of the tournament. First up, they would play ranked opponent Jefferson College. IRSC matched up well with this team and jumped on them early, establishing the middles and their offense early. Thanks to the huge presence at the net of Ceylin Kizilkaya (9 Kills, 5 Blocks) and Tamin Trott (7 Kills, 7 Blocks) the River were able to stay dominant throughout much of the game, forcing Jefferson into more hitting errors than any team thus far. IRSC won the first two sets in a confident fashion, but Jefferson scrapped their way back in it with a 27-25 victory in the third. The Pioneers had to recollect and were able to finish them off in the fourth set, with a final score of 26-24.

With another win under their belt, IRSC moved to their last match of the tournament, a rematch from last week's tournament with USU-E. This time the match would go very differently. Maintaining the positive energy from their previous win, the River attacked from the very first serve and did not let up. Behind the powerful arm of Greta Klotz (24 Kills, 5 Aces) they would take the first two sets with scores of 25-21 both sets. The River continued pushing and fighting all the way through the third, but USU-E was full of heart and fight of their own, and was able to fend off 5 straight match points to ultimately sneak a win in the third, 34-32. The Pioneers were still full of heart, but they were gassed, and it reflected in their performance in the fourth and fifth sets. The hitting % dropped and the errors increase, eventually resulting in USU-E winning the match in five sets with a final score of 15-12. A heartbreaker for the River, but a great learning experience and a great fight from the girls.

The River takes to the road again on Wed. August 29, 2022, against non-conference opponent Florida Memorial.