Starting season off winning

Looking at SPU Volleyball’s first four games of the season

Sabrina Jiles, Staff Reporter

Gabi Stegemoller (left), is a senior majoring in nursing. Gabi is Captain and a middle blocker for the team. Ashley Antoniak (right), is a sophomore at SPU majoring in Business Administration and the current SPU SAAC President. Ashley is an outside/right-side hitter for the team. (Sydney Lorton)

The Seattle Pacific University women’s volleyball team is back and starting their season off winning.

The Falcons won their first two games of the season against Northwest University and one game against Saint Martin’s.

After shifting their season from the fall to the spring, the Falcons are not letting a delayed season decide their fate.

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, on July 17, the Great Northwest Athletic Conference announced that fall competition was going to be canceled through November 30. Fall sports were scheduled to resume in the spring of 2021.

For SPU volleyball sophomore Ashley Antoniak, the news of the season being canceled was hard to hear and was disappointing.

“The first time we heard in the fall that our season would not be happening in the fall, I think our whole team was bummed out and super hopeless that we would even have a season this whole year,” Antoniak stated.

But the Falcons did not lose motivation. Falcons volleyball senior Gabi Stegemoller worked to stay positive during the postponement of the season. Stegemoller described how she stayed positive during the fall.

“Our program does a good job at putting value on the culture and not just results and putting value on the process. I think the main motivation was getting the seven freshmen acquainted and part of a family. Everything we do in the fall, training and not competing is going to help us when we compete,” Stegemoller stated.

The Falcons returned to action on Feb. 27 against Northwest University and Saint Martin’s on March 2. The Falcons played a doubleheader against both teams. The Falcons beat Northwest University in both of their games, three sets to zero. When the Falcons played against Saint Martin’s, both games went to five sets. The Falcons lost the first match three sets to two, but recovered and won the second match, three sets to two.

Antoniak described the difference between the first and second match that they played against Saint Martin’s.

“It was a really long day. Our mentality going in was we were going to win 3-0 both games and it was a drag to go ten whole sets. I think in both games, we played really hard, but assuming we were going to win was not the best way to go into the game,” Antoniak said.

Senior outside hitter Maddie Batiste led the team with 18 kills, four blocks and two aces in the first game against Saint Martin’s. Batiste was followed by freshman middle blocker Hannah Hair with 16 kills and four blocks. In the second game against Saint Martin’s, the Falcons were led by junior outside hitter Erin Gould with 13 kills and one block and opposite redshirt freshman Maddie Pruden with 13 kills and five blocks.

Stegemoller is returning to the court after suffering an injury her junior year and missing the last seven games of the season. Stegemoller described what it has meant for her to get the opportunity to end her senior year with the opportunity to compete.

“I’m really grateful that we have a season. Big picture it’s been a crazy year with COVID-19 and everything, so I’ll take what I can get. Also just time with the team and all the girls is what I’m grateful for,” Stegemoller stated.

The Falcons are set to face off against Northwest University again on March 19 at Kristi Brodin Pavilion at 5 pm.

“My hope is that we go out fighting every game and surprise ourselves. Figure out our team dynamic again since we’ve only had a couple games,” Antoniak stated.