With some time in my schedule I wandered over to the University of Hartford to take in part of the Marist vs. Hartford match. The interesting thing about UHart’s court is that you have to literally cross the back of it to get to the seats, so everyone who visits has to dodge flying balls or wait for a pause in the action to move. The Hawks were welcoming in the Marist Red Foxes.
Game one started up going Hartford’s way with the Hawks moving out to two points. Marist would pick up a point when Hartford hit a return out of bounds, but they would serve the next ball out of bounds to make it 3-1. Hartford’s serve would be knocked out of bounds by Marist to put the home team up 4-1. As Hartford’s Erin Macro continued to serve, Marist knocked the next ball out of bounds again and then had trouble on the next return to put Hartford out to a 6-1 lead. Marist called a time out at this point which seemed to be natural. At this point I was wondering how the match was going to go at this rate, Marist would come back and come back well however, and the match soon became a more even affair.
After the time out Macro served a ball that fooled the defense and landed in bounds, though they were waiting for it to go out of bounds. Hartford was up 7-1, but Marist’s Alexandra Schultze knocked a ball through the Hartford block to get Marist back up on the board. Hartford would not win the next point either, but would knock the ball in to go up 8-3. Hallie Fullagar would serve for Hartford and Marist wouldn’t be able to return it for a 9-3 score. The next serve would end up in the net, and Marist’s serve would be returned out of bounds to make it 9 to 5. Hartford’s Maddison Molyneux would light touch a ball into the Marist site and the Red Foxes knocked it out of bounds to return the ball to Hartford with the score 10-5. Jennifer Monroy would spike a kill untouched on the next play or it to go 11-5, and Katie O’Hara added a untouched spike kill of her own to make it 12-5. Marist would recover the ball with a Hartford serve into the net. Monroy would smack a spike and the defense would knock it out o bounds to give Hartford a 13-6 lead. Marist’s Allie Burke would touch the ball over the net only to have the Hawks knock it under the net to put the score at 13-7. Following Marist’s Jordan Foss’s knock over the net, Hartford had some sort of defensive error on the return, but Marist would serve out of bounds to bring the score at 14-8. With Monroy serving Marist would have some trouble getting the ball set up for the return on two successive points, and knocked another ball over the net and out of bounds. With the score 17-8 Marist’s Burke would spike the ball off the defense to make it 17-9. Hartford came right back and Macro spiked the ball big time off the Marist defense for the kill and an 18-9 score. Marist responded with their own big kill as Burke smashed a hit untouched into the Hartford zone. With the score 18-10, a major rally ensued with both sides going back and forth. Macro would smash a ball in for the kill and the Hawks’ 19th point.
Hartford would then have a bit of tough time of it and gave up three straight points, including a serve out of bounds and a spike into the net. Marist would hit a ball over and out of bounds to make it 20-13. Hartford would block Schultze’s attack, but hit it out of bounds to bring the score to 20-14. O’Hara would spike the ball in and the Red Foxes would hit it out of bounds to bring it to 21-14. Marist would go on a run with Foss spiking a kill untouched into a corner. Monroy would get blocked on an attack and Hartford wouldn’t be able to get it back over. At 21-16, Marist would knock a serve out of bounds, though on the next point Foss would smash a ball through the Hawk block into the corner to make it 22-17. The Red Foxes would knock a Macro return out of bounds to give the Hawks a point. With the score 23-17, Marist’s Burke would have a big kill untouched into a corner, and Hartford would hit a return out of bounds the next point. With it 23-19, Hartford would lose the next point, and hit a ball over and out of bounds again and now it was 23-21. Marist had really pulled themselves out of a hole, but Macro would spike smash a kill in for a 24-21 score. The defense would block their way to a point next and it was 25-21. Marist would respond when Schultze light tapped a ball into a gap, but would serve out of bounds. At 26-22, Hartford would serve out of bounds as well and it was now 26-23. Marist responded by serving out of bounds as well and it was 27-23. Marist smashed a ball in to regain a point and the serve. O’Hara would smash a ball off the D to extend the lead to 28-24. Monroy would then knock a ball through the Red Fox block for a 29-24 score. And it would be Monroy again with the big spike untouched into for the 30th and game winning point. Hartford 30, Marist 24.
Game 2 began and Hartford started out game 2 well picking up 3 points while Marist picked up 1 on a serve out of bounds. Following some sort of error on Hartford’s part, to bring it to 3-2. Marist tapped it into a gap in the Hartford defense to make it 3-3. Marist picked up another point on a Hartford error, but Hartford’s Maddison Molyneux would spike it in and off the defense who hit it out of bounds. Hallie Fullagar would spike another point in to make it 5-4 Hartford. Marist would pick up a point to tie it when Hartford served out of bounds. Marist’s Lindsey O’Dell spiked the ball off the defense to make it 5-6 and her teammate Joanna Foss would spike another attack into a gap to make it 5-7. They’d picked up another point to bring it to 5-8 but served out of bound to give Hartford the point and the serve to make it 6-8. Hartford would pick up another point and at 7-8 there was a big rally which Marist’s Joanna Foss would end by smashing the ball in untouched to put it to 7-9 . Following a serve error, Harford would struggle on a return, and the score would be 8-10. Katie O’Hara would spike a kill untouched to the floor to put Hartford within 1 again. Marist’s Burke would spike the ball from the far side of the net in and Hartford couldn’t get to it. Erin Macro would return fire with a ball the D couldn’t return, and Marist would struggle again on the next point. The score was now 11-11. Jennifer Monroy would hit into a gap to take the lead, but Alexandra Schultze would respond for Marist and hit a ball off which the Hawks hit out of bounds to make it 12-12. Another Hartford shot into then net would make it 12-13. Marist would go on a run with Hartford having trouble returning the ball and it was 12-16 Marist before a Hartford time out.
Marist would pick up a point following the time out again, but would serve into then et, and struggle on a return. With it 14-17 a long rally ensued ended when Joanna Foss spiked a ball off the D for the point and to put Marist up 14-18. Hartford would spike a return out of bounds to bring the score to 14-19. Hartford would pick up a point on the next rally, despite Marist running deep out of bound to hit a ball and keep it in play. Their advantage would disappear when they served into the net, but they recovered and O’Hara spiked into a gap. At 16-20 a long rally ensued ending when Marist struggled on a return. With the score 17-20, a time out was called.
When play resumed Foss smashed a spike in that Hartford could only knock out of bounds behind them, and it was 17-21. Foss got the next point when she dropped it in to another gap in the Hartford defense, and the Red Foxes benefited from a ball which dropped just inside the Hartford side, it was clearly hard to judge as both players were watching to see where it dropped in. Foss again smashed a ball through a block to make it 17-24. Following a long rally, Lindsey O’Dell spiked a ball which fooled the defense and it was 17-25. A pair of Hartford errors would bring it to 17-27, but Marist would serve into the net. Hartford would pick up a pair of points and bring it to 20-27 off some struggling Marist return efforts, but Foss would smash a spike in for the Red Foxes 28th point. A serve out of bounds would return the ball to Hartford, but another Foss spike kill would bring it to 21-29. Erin Macro would respond with her own big time spike which Marist couldn’t touch. Monroy would gain the next point on a spike which Marist knocked out of bounds, and the following play Marist struggled a gain. Macro would spike it and thwart the Marist defense again as their return sailed out of bounds. It was now 25-29. Hartford than served a ball just in bounds fooling the defense. But Alexandra Schultze put an end to the comeback when she spiked a ball over and Hartford hit it out of bounds. The score 26-30 Marist.
At this point I had to depart, but I had a few other observations. Throughout this match there was a lot of good return passes from Marist’s Libero Emily Brosky, and both sides were blocking the other quite often. Marist employed a great deal of misdirection and often would spike the ball from to the left and right of the net antennas. I hadn’t seen tactics like that before though I am new to the sport. Obviously there is a lot of defensive plays going on and it’s harder to me to notice and comment on them but I hope over time to integrate more of that into my writing. I know there are team functions that I am missing and I hope to recognize more of what’s happening as I get more knowledgeable.
(This is based on my eyewitness observations, but I did look over the posted box score occasionally.)
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