The cats have been off to a slow start

The Catamount volleyball team have started off slowly so far this season. In their first eight games, the Catamount team is 1 and 7, with their lone victory coming in five sets against UNC-Charlotte. The Catamounts traveled to Morehead State University in Morehead, Ky. to participate in the Comfort Inn Invitational. In the event, the Cats played three teams: Morehead State, the United States Air Force Academy, and Central Arkansas. On opening night, Sept. 9, Western dropped their only game to the Morehead State Eagles in straight sets: 30-27, 30-21, and 30-26. Western was carried by junior Meredith Harmon who led with eight kills in the game, and she also compiled a total of four blocks in the game. On the defensive end, freshman Liz Rondone led the Cats with 11 digs, while freshman Katie Hennessy had 16 assists in the contest. The Eagles improved to 5 and 3 overall with their impressive victory over the Catamounts. The following day was a historical day for Catamount coach Stephanie Dragan. Not only did the Cats earn their second victory of the season, but Catamount Head Coach Stephanie Dragan earned her 200th career win. The next day, the Catamounts defeated the Air Force Falcons in four sets: 35-33, 32-34, 30-28, and 30-13. Freshman Katie Hennessy led the Cats with her first-recorded career triple-double with 11 kills, 11 digs, and 36 assists. Senior Heather Koontz led the team in total digs with 16 of her own. On defense, the Cats were led by freshman libero Liz Rondone with 25 digs. Senior Meghan Boyle had 12 digs, and freshman Amanda Todd had 10. The first game against Air Force required extra points to help decide the winner of the game. In the first game, the Cats trailed 28-21 and were on the verge of dropping the game, until the team rallied to score five consecutive points, before finally tying the game at 30. The score was tied at 33 apiece before senior Krista Neumann scored the final two points to seal the game for the Cats. In the second game, extra points were needed again to decide the winner. However, it was the Falcons who prevailed with a 34-32 game victory over WCU. The Catamounts paced themselves in game three to defeat the Falcons 30-28 and then demolished them in the final game 30-13. Against Central Arkansas, the Cats led the set 2-1, but could not seal the deal and fell in five sets: 30-24, 31-29, 28-30, 30-23, and 15-13. Liz Rondone had a career high of 32 digs in the contest, but senior Heather Koontz and junior Meredith Harmon are the ones who paced the Cats. Each led with 17 kills in the contest; senior Krista Neumann had nine kills, while freshman Brittany Johnson had eight. Following a triple double against Morehead State, Hennessy had a double-double against Central Arkansas. She had 41 assists and 10 digs in the loss. Harmon was the only Catamount to be named to the All-Tournament Team as she recorded a total of 34 kills, and only had six errors on 73 total attempts over the weekend. The Catamounts (2 and 10) returned to action three days later on the road against Gardner Webb. However, the Bulldogs swept the Cats in three: 30-25, 30-25, and 30-27. Meredith Harmon showed off her solid hitting ability as she committed just two errors on 14 total attempts with three blocks and two kills. Koontz compiled seven kills while Johnson had three, but led the team with four blocks. The next event would be the home openers for the Catamounts. They hosted the fifth annual Catamount Clash in the Ramsey Center. The first game against High Point University would be a victory for the Catamounts, as they defeated the Panthers in five sets: 30-28, 29-31, 29-31, 30-18, and 15-12. Western made another late rally as they trailed 2-1 in the set before taking the victory. Rondone set a school record with 41 digs against the Panthers, and two other Catamounts compiled career highs to help the Catamounts win their first game on their home floor. Katie Hennessy had a career high of 57 assists and Harmon recorded a total of 22 kills. The Catamounts had a total of 13 team blocks in the game, with Harmon chipping in with six and Johnson with seven. The game against Kent State did not have the same result as the High Point game. The Catamounts were swept in three sets: 30-21, 30-22, and 30-17. The Catamounts struggled to find its offense, but Rondone helped carry their defense. The freshman had 25 digs in the loss to Kent State. In the final day of the Catamount Clash, Western went 1 and 1 with a win over Kennesaw State and loss to Valparaiso. In the first match of the afternoon, Valpo swept the Catamounts, as the Cats’ offense was completely shut down. No player reached double figures in the game. Rondone had 23 kills in the loss. The final game of the Catamount Clash went Western’s way as they defeated the Kennesaw State Owls in four: 30-27, 30-24, 27-30, and 30-19. Offensively, Koontz led with 10 kills, while teammates Harmon and Johnson each had nine in the Cats’ fourth victory of the season. Rondone once again reached double figures in digs with a match high of 14. Senior Kate Willard recorded nine digs, and Hennessy had seven digs and 32 assists in the victory. Overall, the Catamounts finished third in the Catamount Clash going 2 and 2 in the event. Valparaiso and Kent State shared the title, as each team went 3 and 0. For the second time in her young career, Rondone was named to the All-Tournament Team as she compiled a total of 103 digs in the four games of the event. The Catamount Clash wrapped up the early season tournaments. Now the Cats must focus their attention on the Southern Conference. With their 4 and 12 record, the Catamounts look to get back on track against Southern Conference opponents. They are back in action on Sept. 20, as Chattanooga comes to the Ramsey Center. Last season, the Cats defeated the Bucs in five.