Two Guys go to a Volleyball Game

This column is as close as you can get to experiencing Eastern’s athletics first hand, besides actually attending a game first hand. So strap in.

“Our school is supposed to be really good at this, right?” The game is about ten points into the first set when Nathan makes this astute observation.

It is September 18th and Nathan and I are attending the volleyball home opener versus the Wilkes Colonels.
We are seated in the middle section of the bleachers, about two thirds of the way up is Dan Mouw, providing live commentary for’s live-stream of the game.What good is a live-stream when you can read about the game eight days later in the paper?

I look back to the court just in time to see Kearby Benak get what is probably her 53rd kill of the game. Things are off to a good start, but I’m a little worried about the line judge in the back right corner of the court. His glasses are way too thick.
Rachel Wenger takes a turn at pounding the ball for a kill of her own; Eastern has jumped to a 14-7 lead.

Nathan takes a shot at explaining Eastern’s early dominance in the game. He concludes that Eastern is “taller and less blonde” than Wilkes. It’s a fair point. There is maybe only one person in Wilkes’ lineup who could be considered tall.
Seconds later, Wilkes takes their first timeout. The score is 17-7.

Wilkes comes out of the huddle about 30 seconds early, because what difference does the time make? You can sense the aura of inevitability. Eastern is just too powerful and too consistent.

24-12 on the scoreboard. Set point! Rachel tips a ball over the net, falling perfectly between two hapless Wilkes players. “Oh, they play to 25,” says Nathan.

A couple points into the second set, Rikki Schlager delivers a jump serve. Jump serves are always cool. Lauren Sproles finishes off the point with a huge kill.

The second set rolls by in a flash. Nathan has been watching the line judges. He points out that if you were to speed up their motions and signals, it would look like they were doing a dance from the ’70s.
On the court, Kaitlyn Gochenauer places a ball just out of Wilkes’ reach to end the second set with the lopsided score of 25-8.

In the third set, Nathan and question: what’s more impressive, a spike or a block? Nathan argues for the block. The timing of the block has to be perfect, while the spike is basically automatic. It’s hard to argue, because Eastern’s kills do seem pretty natural.
Wilkes is scrambling to stay alive. A Wilkes’ player takes a spike to the body, eliciting a gasp from the crowd. On the next point, she gets drilled again.

Another Wilkes player falls over backward as she tries to ward off a spike. If I was a more compassionate person, I might feel bad for Wilkes at this point.
Match point arrives. Sadie Beckenhauer makes a great dig to keep the point alive. On the other side of the net, Wilkes has a miscommunication, and the ball falls to the gym floor. Sweet victory.

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