Playing in front of its home fans for the first time in the season, the Manhattan College volleyball team (4-1) beat the Stony Brook Seawolves 3-1.
It was a gritty match from the Jaspers, who combined for eight blocked shots, in a defensive masterpiece. For head coach Mark Jones, there haven’t been many defensive performances better than tonight’s.
“One of the better blocking performances that I’ve seen since I’ve been here at Manhattan,” Jones said. “I’m proud of that. We played really good defense.”
Besides the eight blocked shots, the Jaspers also broke up several attacking attempts from Stony Brook, holding it to just a .105 hitting percentage.
Marissa Behrens and Ivana Kostic were right in the middle of things blocking shots, while the length of Milena Janjusevic and Casey Monroe up top made it difficult for Stony Brook to complete its attacks.
But while the defense was the highlight of the day, Manhattan’s offense also impressed. The attack was spread out among the players, with Monroe and Behrens finishing with seven kills and Claire Van Dyk and Janjusevic leading the way with 10 and 14 kills respectively.
Janjusevic hit a solid .520 in attack for her season-high in that category. A transfer student from Odessa College, Janjusevic admits she is still getting acclimated to the team, but is starting to find her niche.
“I’m trying just to do my best and to be there to support my teammates,” Janjusevic said. “I think that’s the most important thing for everybody. Support is the mindset for us.”
There was a lot of support from the fans, who nearly packed Draddy Gymnasium for the home opener. It was Janjusevic’s first home game as a Jasper, and she was impressed.
“I was very excited, especially since this was my first home game so I didn’t know what to expect,” she said. “But I’m satisfied.”
But although the home opener resulted in a win, it wasn’t without a bit of a scare for the fans and for the Jaspers.
After taking the first two sets, the Jaspers looked poised to run away with the match, but the Seawolves would not go away. With the third set tied at 23, the Seawolves rattled off the last two points of the set to win it 25-23.
The fourth set was even more dramatic, as the Seawolves held set point at 24-23. However, a Janjusevic kill tied it at 24 and later, with the game tied at 25, two attack errors from the Seawolves gave Manhattan the set and the match.
The Jaspers will now head to Peoria, Ill., for the CEFCU Classic, where they will face UMass Lowell, Weber State and Bradley.
The season is still young for the Jaspers, and with a squad that features seven new players, there’s still some acclimating to do.
Jones can’t wait to see how good his team will be once they’ve fully adapted.
“I think we’re still getting used to each other and knowing where people play, what kind of sets they like, and where they want to play defense,” Jones said. “But I think overall, skillwise, I think we’ve done a great job. The more and more we play the better we’re going to get.”