Volleyball gets on track after a four-win weekend


John Carroll Sports Information

Anna Coughlin serving in a 2021 volleyball match. Coughlin was named to the All-Tournament team over the weekend.

Anna Meyer, Sports Editor

The John Carroll University Volleyball Team came into their tournament at Penn State Behrend with one goal: to end their three-game losing streak. 

Not only did the Blue Streaks end their losing streak, but they also started a new four-game win streak after knocking off all four of their opponents during their matches on Friday, Sept. 10 and Saturday, Sept. 11.  

“That three-match losing streak included very talented teams, but we did not rise up to those challenges,” said John Carroll Volleyball Head Coach Michelle Benoit. “The bounce-back was partly because of the understanding that we too are a talented team, but we have to do the little things correctly. When we have faith in ourselves, work harder, and enjoy the process, we will win more matches.”

The key to the Blue Streak’s victory was preparing differently for their matches, according to Benoit. 

“We did things a bit differently to shift our focus to executing the basics more precisely and to play with more passion and energy.”


Match One: Penn State Behrend  (3-2; 22-25, 25-22, 25-21, 16-25, 15-6.)

In their first tournament game, the Blue Streaks worked their hardest to secure a 3-2 victory after five sets against the Behrend Lions.

The senior duo of Kailee Herbst and Cassi Calamunci paved the way for the Blue and Gold victory in match one. Herbst notched a career-high 13 kills in the game while Calamunci recorded 11. Ally Bartolone led the team in assists with 24 and Maddie Maziarz followed closely behind her with 17. 


Match Two: Westminster College (3-1; 16-25, 25-18, 25-19, 25-16) 

With not much recovery time between Friday’s matches, the Blue Streaks continued to ride their momentum from victory one of the day. In a four-game set, the Blue and Gold defeated the previously undefeated Westminster University. 

The star in match two was senior Carleen Ellerbruch, who posted a career-high 13 kills in the victory over Westminster. Calamunci and Herbst, each notched double-digit kills with 11 and 10 kills, respectively. 


Match Three: Bluffton University (3-1;  25-18, 25-19, 22-25, 25-19) 

On Saturday, the Blue Streaks continued to play on the right foot. They kicked off the day with a 3-1 victory over Bluffton, resulting in the winning streak improving to three games, all courtesy of the tournament. 

Jenna Follmer notched 11 digs in the victory, while Brooke Hjerpe recorded 10 and Calamunci tallied nine. 


Match Four: SUNY Fredonia, (3-0,  25-22, 25-17, 25-20) 

John Carroll put the icing on the cake in their fourth and final match of the weekend’s tournament. In their contest against SUNY Fredonia, the Blue and Gold obtained their first sweep of the season. 

This win was a team effort courtesy of multiple players. The 27 kills in the match came from 10 different players of the Blue and Gold. Follmer led the way in kills with five, the team-high. 

Anna Coughlin recorded 17 digs in the sweep over SUNY Fredonia as well. She was named to the All-Tournament Team at the conclusion of the weekend for her efforts. 


With the wins, the Blue Streaks advance to 6-3 on the season. 

“We had fun [this past weekend], and that’s very important,” noted Benoit. “But the most important thing is we played well, and we now know what we are capable of doing.”

The Blue Streaks will kickoff their 2021 home campaign on Wednesday, Sept. 14, at the Tony Decarlo Varsity Center against Ohio Wesleyan University and look to extend their win streak to five. The match will begin at 7 p.m. 

COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted, and a full capacity crowd will be allowed at the game.