San Antonio – As is the case with any good rivalry, the unexpected can always be expected when the St. Mary’s University volleyball team takes the court against the University of the Incarnate Word.
New Rattlers coach Jenny Warmack-Chipman got her first taste of that Tuesday, when the match was delayed nearly 45 minutes because the officials went to the wrong venue.
Once they finally got underway, the contest was as spirited as any other St. Mary’s-UIW clash, with the Cardinals narrowly clipping the Rattlers in three straight sets at Incarnate Word.
The Rattlers (2-3) took numerous early leads, but ended up falling 21-25, 23-25, 22-25 in the first match between the schools since UIW left the Heartland Conference.
“It was a fun atmosphere for sure, especially early on,” Warmack-Chipman said. “The crowd was really getting into it, and we had a good support base with a lot of St. Mary’s people.”
What wasn’t as fun was that the Rattlers left feeling like they let one slip away.
St. Mary’s held leads of 9-4, 14-9 and 18-14 in the second set, but a big UIW rally negated the advantage.
The Rattlers led again in the third set, jumping out to an 8-3 advantage and later a 16-12 lead. But the Cardinals rallied again, tying up things at 17-17 en route to taking both the set and the match.
“It was neck and neck,” Warmack-Chipman said. “We just need to execute better.”
Junior defensive specialist Stephanie Flores (San Antonio) led the Rattlers with 17 digs, while middle blockers Kirsten Chapman (jr., Jourdanton, Texas) and Stephanie Proske (jr., LaGrange, Texas) each posted a team-high eight kills.
Freshman outside hitter/defensive specialist Karlie Ortega (San Antonio) had six kills and 10 digs, while senior setter Kori McCarver (San Antonio) added 28 sets.
For Warmack-Chipman, she already was thinking about the Rattlers’ next matchup against UIW as she departed the Cardinals’ campus.
“This was a good match,” she said. “If we correct a couple of key points on our end, the next time we see them it should be an even better match.”
St. Mary’s hosts UIW in their annual “Dig Pink” event at 7 p.m., Oct. 12 at Bill Greehey Arena.