By Jada Butler
The volleyball team played with a new purpose during their match against the Queens College Knights on Friday, Oct. 5, their first match since the announcement of the upcoming “One LIU” athletic department merger. The Pioneers beat the Knights with a 3-0 (25-16, 25-8, 25-18) win that placed them 12-8 for the season and 4-2 for the East Coast Conference (ECC).
This match set a season high of 13 service aces, the most in a three-set match since scoring 15 on Sept. 16, 2017 against Wilmington University. The Pioneers used long runs in the second (25-8) and third (25-18) sets to secure their win.
Senior outside hitter, Rachel Londot, who was announced as ECC women’s volleyball player of the week on Sept. 24, led the match with four service aces, six kills and 12 digs.
The match started at 7 p.m., but the Pioneers were in the game long before that. This is the team’s first time on the court since the merger announcement, which stated that the Post and Brooklyn campus athletic departments will merge to create a “unified LIU.”
Seven Post teams, including volleyball, will elevate from Division II to Division I in the 2019-20 season, and all Post indoor sports will move to the Brooklyn campus.
“We were fired [up]; we wanted to prove something – we still want to prove something. This is our last season as LIU Post, so let’s make it the best,” said senior setter, Giulia Genna, explaining the mindset in which the team was playing that night.
The volleyball team, along with other sports teams, is against the merger. The Pioneers made a stand during their pre-game warm-up, wearing their LIU Post t-shirts inside out, and taping over “LIU” on their jerseys during the national anthem. They did not cover the name during the game.
“We intended on taping the LIU on our jerseys, but we were told we could not do that by the refs,” said senior middle hitter, Elise Strange, later adding that the administration also told players they could not cover their jerseys.
The team dominated in the first set, and continued to reap in points throughout the next two sets. They were not holding back. “[The announcement] puts a different kind of spirit in you, and a different reason to play. We’re really playing for the school (Post) now, in addition to recognizing this is the last time we’ll play together,” Strange said.
In their season opener, the Pioneers defeated both the Franklin Pierce University Ravens and the Texas A&M International University Dust Devils at the Raven First Serve Invitational on Aug. 24. The Pioneers ran the Ravens through three sets to victory, and the beat the Dust Devils 3-1.
Friday’s win for the Pioneers follows a narrow loss prior in the week against the University of New Haven Chargers on Tuesday, Oct. 2. The Pioneers pushed the Chargers to five sets, recording more kills, assists and digs, but ultimately came up short on a 15-8 loss in the fifth.
On Saturday, Oct. 6, the Pioneers faced Molloy College in a tight match, ultimately losing 3-0 (25-20, 25-22, 25-22) to Molloy. But the Pioneers aren’t giving up yet.
Head coach, Stephanie Sheehan, has faith in her team. “[Friday] night was especially special because every girl on the team got on the court at some point to contribute to the win,” Sheehan said. “We decided as a team that we are going to continue the season the way we started, to win and go out on top.”
The next match is Wednesday, Oct. 10 at 7:30 p.m., against the New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury.