Volleyball excels on senior night

Pipers seniors get a victory in their last home game.


Taylor Geer

First-year outside hitter Danica Hanson goes up for a kill at the net. The Pipers defeated St. Olaf 3-1 last Saturday, Oct. 24. It was the team’s last home game of the season.

Jake Kjos, Reporter

After a loss earlier in the week to Augsburg, Hamline volleyball honored their seniors with a 3-1 win against St. Olaf on senior night. The victory showcased the talent of their outgoing seniors in front of the home crowd.

The match against Augsburg on Oct. 21 ended in a 1-3 loss, despite the Pipers playing a tough match.

Sophomore middle blocker Beth Goodman detailed the difference between a win and a loss in a close match like this one.

“I think we played well. We could’ve done a better job finishing the games. We had big leads and we let them catch up to us,” Goodman said.

Senior outside hitter Michelle Mattke was happy with the team’s efforts even though they did not get the result that they wanted.

“It’s always kind of a rivalry game. They’re very vocal and we’re very vocal. Pushing them to four [sets] was good,” Mattke said.

In the Oct. 24 senior night matchup against a St. Olaf team that was winless in conference play going in, the team knew that they had to keep the right mentality in order to win.

Mattke described the way the team wanted to play in order to avoid a letdown.

“It’s about minimizing errors and keeping communication loud and vocal. Keeping the pace of the game up is important. You want the energy to stay high,” she said.

Goodman also talked about what the team has worked on in order to stay positive and not worry about the opponent as much.

“We’re focusing a lot lately on encouraging each other, being unified as a team. If everyone is on their A game and we have fun, we can win,” Goodman said.

Junior right hitter Jena Meyer detailed the ways in which the team creates that positive atmosphere as a team.

“We work on a lot of team dynamics, working in different positions and rotations. It’s fun to work with other hitters,” Meyer said.

Meyer also described a lesson that helps keep the team grounded, even with an important night and a struggling team coming to their home court.

“We try not to look at our opponents any differently,” Meyer said.

Senior outside hitter and defensive specialist Jamie Rubbelke serving to the Oles on Oct. 24.
Taylor Geer
Senior outside hitter and defensive specialist Jamie Rubbelke serving to the Oles on Oct. 24.

The first set proved that St. Olaf was not going to be an easy victory, as the set went to a 24-24 tie that became a big momentum swing for the Pipers. Junior outside hitter Julia Zolnosky rose up for two powerful kills to win the set 26-24 and give the team an early 1-0 lead.

After a point scored on a fake set by junior setter Amelia Jensen gave the Pipers a 14-10 lead, the team held strong throughout the rest of the set. Meyer and Goodman combined for back-to-back spikes to give the team a 22-16 lead. Goodman later finished the game off of a well placed set by Jensen to win 25-19 and put the team up 2-0.

St. Olaf began a rally of their own in the third set when they put the Pipers down 3-7 early on. Meyer tried to keep the team close by tying the set up multiple times at 11,12, and 14. After finally taking a lead, the Pipers succumbed to St. Olaf’s high energy and lost the set 22-25.

Zolnosky pushed the Pipers over the edge in the fourth and final set with a kill, block, and another kill in repeat plays for a 10-4 lead.

Seniors took over the rest of the game to give one last goodbye to the home crowd. Senior libero Miquel Green served two aces in one rotation, and Mattke had back-to-back kills during the final set. Senior setter Vassi Prattas and defensive specialist Jamie Rubbelke also made strong plays throughout the night.

Mattke talked about what she wanted to be remembered for after her career is over.

“Being a great celebrator. I’m very loud and enthusiastic for the game. I try to lead by example and hope some of the girls will see that,” Mattke said.

The seniors will leave behind a team that Mattke feels has grown greatly over their four years.

“Every year we’ve done so much better. We set goals at the beginning of the season and being able to accomplish them has been great,” Mattke said.

The Pipers finish the regular season with a match against Gustavus Adolphus in St. Peter tonight at 7:00, then travel to St. Kate’s on Oct. 30.