Volleyball Sends off Seniors With a Win

VB - Seniors Rachael Smith & Isabel Emrich (by Cameron De Lay)

Seniors Rachael Smith and Isabel Emrich. Photo by Cameron De Lay.

Following an emotional Senior Day ceremony prior to first serve on Nov. 21, Academy of Art University volleyball overcame Pacific West Conference rival Dominican for the 3–1 victory (15–25, 25–9, 25–16, 26–24). Senior setter Rachael Smith (Advertising) and senior opposite Isabel Emrich (Fine Art) both made strong contributions to the win in their final career match.

“This day is always full of emotion for all of us, players and staff,” said head coach Ray Batalon. “I’m very happy for our seniors who had the opportunity to end on a high note. This has certainly been a challenging year for us, and I’m glad we were able to finish with a good run. We wanted to play for them.”

Responding to an encouraging atmosphere around them inside Kezar Pavilion, ART U came out on fire in the second set. Junior outside hitter Melissa Brum (Multimedia Communications) and Emrich put away kills on the Urban Knights’ first four points and soon a slam by sophomore middle blocker Amorelle Applin (Acting) put Academy of Art ahead 10–5. The Urban Knights only continued to become stronger, launching into an 8–0 surge off a kill by freshman outside hitter Stine Raben (Advertising). From there, back-to-back spikes by Brum finished off four unanswered points to conclude the set with ART U on top 25–9.

VB - Seniors Rachael Smith & Isabel Emrich (by Cameron De Lay) (2)

Seniors Rachael Smith and Isabel Emrich. Photo by Cameron De Lay.

The Academy pushed a 5–1 lead to start the third frame, but it was not until a second 5–1 run that the Urban Knights truly created separation. The margin would be extended beyond down the stretch as the Academy gained a 2–1 lead with the 25–16 third set victory.

Mirroring the previous game, ART U went ahead 5–1 in the fourth after four consecutive slams by Brum. Shortly thereafter, Raben’s kill initiated six of seven Knights points for a 15–8 advantage. Soon Smith set Applin for match point at 24–22, but consecutive Dominican kills made the set up for grabs at 24–24. In the end, the Urban Knights capitalized on two Penguin errors to finish the day with a 26–24 victory.

VB - Rachael Smith (by Ronald Palarca)

Rachael Smith. Photo by Ronald Palarca.

VB - Team celebrate (by Joshua Leader)

The volleyball team celebrates. Photo by Joshua Leader.

The win finishes ART U’s season at 10–18 overall, 6–14 in the PacWest. Brum posted a season-high 25 kills and 11 digs for her 12th double-double of the year while Smith completed her collegiate career having registered five consecutive double-doubles after 44 assists and 18 digs. Raben delivered nine kills, Applin had eight kills, and Emrich put up six kills in her collegiate finale.