The Western Michigan University volleyball team took to the court in a five-set exhibition match against Ferris State University Friday, marking the official beginning of the Broncos’ 2017 season.
Although the match did not count in the standings, the Broncos won two of the five sets played. They won a tight first set 26-24 and dominated the fifth set 15-5, while subsequently dropping the second, third, and fourth sets, 17-25, 23-25, and 21-25, respectively.
“We were playing five sets no matter what today, since it was an exhibition game, so we wanted to see game mode from all of the players,” Broncos head coach Colleen Munson said. “Everyone had an opportunity to play.”
Senior middle blocker Sydney LeMay led the stat sheet for the Broncos, racking up 16 kills in four sets played, while also adding an assist, block, and service ace. Sophomore right side hitter Quiana Ware had 16 kills of her own, and freshman outside hitter Rachel Bontrager notched 12 kills. At the line, sophomore outside hitter Willow Martin had three service aces today, including two in the fifth set.
The Broncos are fielding a relatively young team this season, with only three seniors and one junior on the 15-player roster. The leadership from LeMay and junior setter Mary Murphy kept the sets close all match long, including contributing to separate 8-1 runs in the third set and fifth set.
“I think as a whole, our upperclassmen became upperclassmen today,” Munson said. “It’s a matter of grooming the system with which we’re playing to make sure some of the younger players understand the roles within our system. So, as a whole, our leaders led.”
For Ferris State, they were led by senior middle blocker Ayanna Buckley, who racked up 15 kills and had six total blocks (four solo, two assisted), with five of those coming in the fourth set alone. Sophomore outside hitter Allyson Cappel had double-digit kills for the Bulldogs as well, getting 12 kills in three sets played.
The Broncos play their first regular season matches in the Dish Tennessee Classic in Knoxville, Tennessee on August 25-26, and the Xavier Tournament in Cincinnati on September 1-2. They play their first home matches in the Holiday Inn West Invitational on September 7 and 9.