By: Katie Obear – Staff Writer
The University of Dayton Women’s Volleyball team suffered a disappointing 3-1 loss in their first round game of the NCAA Tournament against the University of Pittsburgh in University Park, Penn. on Friday.
This was Pitt’s first time appearing in the NCAA Tournament since 2004 and the first time since 2003 that they will advance to the second round. Pitt lost that following matchup to Penn State.
The Flyers went into the tournament with a season record of 30-1–the highest winning percentage of any tournament team. And they ended on a 19 game-winning streak, losing only one match the entire season. The team also captured their 11th Atlantic 10 Conference title.
“We definitely knew as soon as we got Pitt that it was going to be a great game, and it could easily go either way,” said sophomore defensive specialist Margo Wolf. “We were all excited and ready to play, they just happened to play a little better than us.”
With the loss in the single-elimination tournament, the Flyers’ season is over, and they will look to start rebuilding for next year.
“A lot of us have been there when we have lost but haven’t really experienced it,” said junior middle blocker Amber Erhahon. “Because we are a young team but now…most of us have experienced [losing], actually being on the floor and contributing to it, we are just going to use that as drive in the off season, come back with more.”
With every starter returning next year, not all hope is lost for the current generation of UD volleyball.
Had the Flyers defeated Pitt and moved on, though, they would have faced a familiar foe in the second round.
Dayton was defeated by Penn State in the second round of both the 2014 and 2015 tournaments. Last year, they defeated Villanova in the first round. The year before, they downed American.
UD closed out its 2016 season with an overall record of 30-2. The Flyers will only be losing one player, Megan Giardina, to graduation. The rest of the team will return for the 2017 season.
“We are still young, I’m not sure how many people realize how young we are in a lot of our positions and how great our kids did filling in from a team that lost five starting seniors from last year and the success that they had,” said Hormson. “I really believe that we are going to get better from tonight and I think the best of Dayton volleyball is still in front of us.”
“It was not the best feeling in the world,” said Wolf after the loss. “Very disappointing. It fuels the fire for next year.”