John Carroll volleyball team starts off 2021 season winless against mighty Muskingum


JCU Sports Information

Michelle Benoit (middle, clipboard in hand) talks to her team during a timeout against Muskingum on March 12, 2021, at the Tony DeCarlo Varsity Center

Ashley McCall, Staff Reporter

After 491 days of no play, the John Carroll University Volleyball Team fell to the Muskingum Fighting Muskies on Friday, March 12, in a double-header home opener dropping their record to 0-2 on the season.

With no seniors on the team, the Blue Streaks depended on the junior class to steer the ship straight during the battle against the seasoned Muskies. 

In the first set of the first game, the Blue and Gold tied the Muskies 14-14 with a kill from junior Cassi Calamunci and even went so far as to take the lead by two points. Muskingum wrestled free and won 25-23

John Carroll took the next set, avenging their previous loss by a score of 25-19. Junior Carleen Ellerbrunch had a kill to bring the Blue Streaks’ score to 24, when a bad set by Muskingum player Erin Dickson pushed the Blue and Gold to the winning 25 points

In the third set, John Carroll was ahead 7-3 when the Muskies grasped the momentum and went on an 8-0 run. The Blue Streaks recovered and tied it at 12 with a kill from junior Ally Bartolone. Muskingum secured this win with two kills from Maddie McGee, taking the set 25-18

Only needing one more set to win the match, the Muskies dominated and were the victors of the final set by a score of 25-11

A quick turnaround and the squads were back at it, playing another match with similar results. 

The Blue Streaks kept the first set close until the Muskies advanced on a 6-0 run, which was finally put to an end by JCU freshman Jenn Follmer. Muskingum continued to grow their lead, giving them a boost over JCU, despite the last chance seven-point run by the Blue and Gold. 

Muskingum won the first set of the second match 25-19.

Once again getting retaliation, the Blue Streaks were triumphant in the second set, winning by a score of 25-23. Blue and Gold freshman Abigail Kirk served an ace to raise John Carroll to 25, giving them their first win of the second match.

The Muskies grasped control of the last two sets by scores of 25-21 and 25-13, giving them the three sets needed to win best out of five. 

As the Blue and Gold record sank to 0-2, John Carroll Volleyball Head Coach Michele Benoit said she was proud of her young team and the effort showcased throughout the evening. 

“There were some bright spots in our matches against Muskingum, but it also offered us a great deal of insight into what we need to do better for every match going forward,” Benoit told The Carroll News. “Every team member has something to offer, and they have a unique bond. It’s been a lot of fun for us as a staff to coach them. We can’t wait to see how far we can go.”

The Blue Streaks are back in action on Tuesday, March 16, in University Heights as they take on Mount Union in another doubleheader starting at 6 p.m. 

“One of the best parts of being back is getting to do something that is normal,” said Benoit. “I consider all OAC teams as rivals, so Mount Union is just another good OAC team we are looking to play well against and hopefully earn some victories.”