Dubuque, IA, 9/17/21 – The Blue Jay volleyball team was in Dubuque, IA to play their second game in the Loras Invite and the University of Dubuque River City Classic. They got off to a hot start against the Saint Marys University of Minnesota Cardinals winning the first set and then 25-18 and having multiple set points in a 32-30 marathon loss in set two. St. Mary's would ride the energy from winning that epic second set to a 3-1 (25-18, 30-32, 14-25, 14-25) win over the Blue Jays. The loss drops the Jays to 2-7 and 0-1 in the SLIAC. The Cardinals improve to 5-6 on season.
The Blue Jays got off to a great start in set one against the Cardinals. Trailing 9-7 the Jays would go on a 9-0 run to seize control 16-9. The run was keyed by four Cardinal attack errors, three Eryka Wanyonyi (Columbia, MO / Hickman) kills and two aces by Gretchen Durbala (Burlington, IA / Burlington). The Blue Jays would keep the momentum and a Wanyonyi kill would win the first set 25-18.
The second set saw the Cardinals take a 15-8 lead and then the Blue Jays would rally. The Jays would go on an 8-0 run to take the lead at 16-15. Three more kills by Wanyonyi and two more service aces by Durbala keyed the run. The set was tense as no team held more than a two point lead the rest of the way. Back and forth it went each team with opportunities to close it out which Saint Mary's managed to do 32-30.
Battered by the disappointing outcome of the hard fought second set, the Blue Jays had difficulty rebounding from the long set. They couldn't get anything going as the Cardinals would break out to large leads in sets three and four and cruise to the 3-1 win.
Wanyonyi led the team in kills again with 18 and then Haley Menke (O'Fallon, MO / Fort Zumwalt West) with 10. Durbala posted 30 assists to lead the Jays. Wanyonyi led the defense for the Jays with 13 digs followed by Durbala with 12 and Erica Schrader (Imperial, MO / St. Pius X). Durbala led the Jays in service aces with four. Claire Whitehouse (St. Louis, MO / Parkway Central) had one solo block and five total blocks to lead the Jays at the net.
The Blue Jays will try to get back on track on Saturday September 18th when they continue tournament play as they face St. Olaf University at Loras. The match is scheduled for a 12:00 p.m. first serve.