Phoenix clip RMU Volleyball on senior day

RMU+volleyball+celebrates+a+point+on+senior+day.+Photo+credit%3A+Tyler+Gallo

RMU volleyball celebrates a point on senior day. Photo credit: Tyler Gallo

By Michael Deemer, Contributor

MOON TOWNSHIP– It was an emotional Senior Day at the UPMC Events Center this afternoon as six seniors on RMU volleyball suited up for the final time as a Colonial.

The day started off strong for the Colonials, starting the first set with a 5-1 lead, but the Phoenix poured it on with a 5-1 run of their own to knot it at 6 apiece.

It was back and forth all set, a 7-0 Colonial run, to an 8-1 Phoenix run made it seem the Colonials Senior Day victory would not come easy, but, they persevered, winning the set in extras 26-24.

In the second set, it was neck-and-neck until again, in the middle of the set, exploded to a 7-2 run and a 6-0 later to put Green Bay’s back against the wall with a 25-17 set 2 victory.

“We wanted three things done over the weekend. We wanted to put pressure, wanted to have fun, and finish,” interim head coach Danny Doherty said. “We did that in the first couple of sets and didn’t do much after that but we tried as hard as we could to put that pressure.”

In the third set, it was close as can be. There was no lead larger than 2 until midway through when Green Bay got a 6-2 run to then later take the set in a 25-21 decision. Coach Doherty thought it was the most efficient out of all of the five sets played.

The fourth set was the same story, neck-and-neck until midway through. The Colonials scored 4 straight points to put them in the lead, but Green Bay scored 6 straight right after to take the lead of their own and later had a 4-0 run for good measure to win in once again, 25-19.

The Colonials went to a 5th set for the second time in as many matches.

The Phoenix started where they left off in the 4th, starting the winner-take-all set with a commanding 6-1 lead and the Colonials had no answer throughout. A 15-6 domination for the Phoenix to spoil the Colonials’ senior day.

“We played on our heels, we didn’t allow ourselves to be in the driver’s seat. Not running the show,” Doherty said. “Letting them put the pressure on instead of us putting it on is where we had the difficulty I’d say the most.”

A touching recognition ceremony took place postgame for all the seniors. Megan Cannon, Emily Devlin, Emma Granger, Alyson Londot, and Nikolette Zanolli were all recognized with jersey plaques with their family on the court with them.

“It’s tough. There are five kids that arent going to grace this court again as athletes,” Doherty said. “It’s always tough especially for those that have done so much for the program. So, it’s a tough pill to swallow.”

The season started well, a 7-2 non-conference record before conference play started seemed to give the Colonials some hope but a 2-15 conference record, headlined by a 12-game losing streak was the downfall of Dale Starr’s job and now questions surround the program. But interim head coach Danny Doherty sees a light at the end of the tunnel

“These kids have a bright future. It’s a tough conference but the kids that are returning are kids that want to work and want to get after it. If they take the right momentum and take the right motion moving forward, they are gonna be an amazing team and an amazing group of kids,” Doherty said. “They have to make sure they’re in it for the right reasons. They need to be what RMU Volleyball is, and if they do that, they all are gonna have bright futures here.”

As this season concludes, there are still a lot of questions that still remain. Who will take over the reins as the leader? Will Danny Doherty still be the head coach in 2022? We are still a long time away from those questions being answered as wait until next fall for their next contest.