By Roderick M. Wilbon, Sports Editor
On September 14th, the University of Missouri-St. Louis Triton Women’s Volleyball team faced a huge opponent in the Bellarmine Knights at the Mark Twain Athletic and Fitness Center. The Bellarmine Knights coming into this match were 8-0, while the Tritons were 7-1 on the season. This would be the Triton’s first home game and first opportunity to hold home-court.
The teams both came out aggressive and ready for the challenge. Although the Tritons did not start their most offensive set they were neck and neck with Bellarmine. Bellarmine had nice athletic players, especially their Libero Jordyn Kuchenbrod who would not give up on any ball. The Triton’s Libero Danielle Waedekin, senior, nursing, was just as great. The first set would continue like this, but at some point defense on one side had to weaken.
Coach Ryan Young made a switch late in the first set to put in Payton Kennelly, freshman, chemistry, setter, and Kylie Rudsinski, sophomore, biology pre-med, opposite attacker/outside hitter. Things changed greatly with the two coming in as an offensive blitzkrieg unit. Rudsinski’s presence was intense on the court, whether blocking an attack or getting a kill. The Tritons swiftly won the first set by 25-22.
In the next set the Knights switched their defense up to mark Rudsinski more. The Tritons seemed to take a little off the edge and relax in the second set. The Knights effectively shut out Rudsinski on attacks and after a few miscues from the Tritons took the second set by 21-25. The Knights seemed to have taken the momentum and coming into the third set looked very dangerous.
The third set marked the tone for the match. Triton’s Head Coach Ryan Young really took a chess-like approach, switching the attacks up on the Knights more frequently. The Knights stayed strong but with attacks coming from every direction, even from Alex Miner, Junior, psychology, Middle Blocker, the Knights looked outnumbered and overpowered. Tritons took the set, 25-23.
The fourth set started the same way and the Knights seemed to charge back. Both teams were going point for point. Coach Young switched it up on the Knights again with threats of attacks and blocks. Fans could see it on the face of Rudsinski, this game was over and the Tritons were trying to put the Knights away. The fourth set would end on a block by Rudsinski and Amanda Vollmer, sophomore, nursing, middle blocker, sealing the Triton’s win of the match, 25-22
“I felt that we were in control the entire time, we worked on keeping them out of their system,” said Alivia Brinker, junior, biology pre-med with minors in chemistry and business administration. “We did our best not to hit the ball to their libero, she’s a great athlete.”
“Yeah, we got a little complacent in the second set, and we realized that after the set,” said Kristen Radionic, senior, pre-physical therapy, middle blocker.
“It was a little stressful, we’re two competitive teams and two really defensive teams with solid liberos. We regrouped after the second set, changed somethings so that Payton and Kylie could get some more kills across,” said Head Coach Young. “The key in that third set was Alex Miner, I called a timeout and told the team get the ball to her and she put it away. Everyone stepped up and played their role well and that’s what we needed tonight.”