By Noah Whitaker, Contributing Writer
Towson is off to a strong start and you can see it when the players touch the court — the determination to conquer their opponents. It occurred this past weekend when the Tigers participated in the Rutgers University Volleyball Invitational, facing the host team Rutgers, University of Virginia, and familiar foe Princeton University, winning two out of three matches.
“There’s a lot of good cohesiveness on the court, a lot of good energy, you know after a win we get together and talk–there’s a good comradery,” said head coach Don Metil.
Last year, Princeton (0-3) beat Towson in a competitive five sets. This year was different as Towson swept in three sets (25-21, 25-23, 25-14). The Tigers had five more aces than Princeton in the victory.
“It’s nice to know we can compete very quickly with those programs that are perceived higher than us,” said Metil.
Virginia came back in the second match with a strong performance in the third set after trailing 2-0, however, Towson prevailed, winning 3-1 behind 13 kills from senior outside hitter Olivia Finckel, 12 from senior outside hitter Annie Ertz and 10 from sophomore outside hitter Emily Jarome. The Tigers had higher numbers in every major statistical category as they defeated the Cavaliers 25-11, 25-15, 15-25, 25-20.
After a three-game sweep to begin the season, the Tigers took their first loss of 2019 vs Rutgers (25-14, 24-26, 26-28, 22-25). Finckel led Towson with 18 kills. Despite the Tigers leading in points, kills, assists, and digs, the Scarlet Knights (3-3) took the final three sets to win 3-1.
This upcoming week, Towson host their first of two tournaments with the Towson Invitational. Their opponents in this tournament include Youngstown State, Coastal Carolina and Albany.
“There is nothing like playing at home. Still, some tough teams are going to be pushing us inside SECU [Arena],” said Metil.
As the Tigers return home, despite their strong start, they are far from perfect.
“We need to find that consistent ability to dig our opponents attacks and then run our offense off of a quality ball,” said Metil. “That’s something we are going to continue to get back in the gym and focus on this week.”
Towson’s first match in the Towson Invitational is Friday, Sept. 13. The match vs. Youngstown State is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. from SECU Arena.
“The next few days will be the hardest getting back in the gym after a couple of wins and making sure that they understand we have to continue to work hard to the goals we have set for our program.”