Injured Player Scores Winning Point

Domenique Gerard, #14, hits an aggressive outside attack against NJIT

In the Brooklyn Heights section of Brooklyn, New York, a Division I NCAA volleyball match was underway. The Saint Francis College Terriers were battling the Central Connecticut State University Blue Devils. The Blue Devils are ranked fourth in the Northeast Conference, while the Terriers are ranked in eighth place.

The music coming from the Genovesi Center could be heard walking off the escalator. The bass was escaping through the gymnasium doors and vibrating through the hallway floors. The ten thousand square foot gymnasium was brightly lit.

A solid blue court sat in the middle, with white outlines, and white lines 10 feet away from the net on each side. The line dividing both sides of the court was a ruby red, and above it was the volleyball net, at 7 feet 4 inches tall. It was only right that the bleachers also be red, to go with the Terriers red, white, and blue color scheme.

The difference between both teams was obvious. The Terriers ranged from 5 feet 4 inches to 6 feet tall. The Blue Devils’ shortest person on the court was 5 feet 11 inches tall. Players on each side were glistening with sweat. All equipped with loose, or braided ponytails.

What would a game be without referees? Four officials refereed the game, all in white shirts, and black slacks. Two referees stood in line with the net, one on either side. The down referee is on the floor, and the head referee is on a platform, to easily see the court, and the top of the net.

The last two officials were line judges. They stood on opposites sides of the court, diagonal from each other. Line judges use red flags, so that their signs are easily visible to the head judge. Fortunately, the flags went well with the gymnasiums decor.

Event Staff, in orange shirts, stood off to the side, and rolled balls back and forth for servers. Occasionally, wiping the balls down with hand towels to remove the sweat.

A timeout is called, and the gymnasium falls silent, besides the faint whispers of the team coaches. Spectators check their phones. One even runs out to put money on their car meter. As the timeout neared its end, the teams began to cheer breaking the silence in the facility.

Not too long after the timeout, number seven from the Blue Devils landed on her teammates foot after coming down from a block. Surprisingly, she did not scream out in pain. She laid on the floor, with her knees to her chest, and grabbed her right ankle in agony.

Athletes from other Terrier teams, started piling into the gymnasium. Screaming affirmations, they were unaware of the player laying on the floor.

The Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) trainer sprinted off the bench, and came to the players aid.The spectators seemed to be holding their breath. Asking her questions to assess the injury, the trainer assured her she wasn’t seriously injured. Number seven told the trainer, and her coach she was alright to continue playing.

The next play was a long rally. They volleyed the ball continuously five times. Sneaker squeaks, and the smack of the ball echoed throughout the gym. Saint Francis’ outside hitter took charge. She hit the ball and it landed before the white 10 foot line on the other side.

The crowd screeched. Saint Francis College (SFC) was streaming the game live, over their website. The reporter calmly read statistics, and gave the play-by-play, even with the commotion. The videographer panned the court in time with the ball, while the technician chopped sound bites, and videos simultaneously.

It is 23-22, in favor of SFC. The smell of anticipation is being circled by the air conditioning.

A double block from SFC. The team yelled “Roof” along with a mother in the stands.

Game point for SFC. CCSU responded with a big swing. The SFC libero shanked the pass. A timeout was called by the SFC head coach at 24-23. Both teams looked tired, and cherished the rest.

“Three, two, one,” the technician counted the reporter in.

Fifteen seconds left on the clock.

Players started to make their way from their huddles. Determination on their faces. SFC wanted the point, but CCSU needed the point. Both benches on their feet.

Two little kids, a boy and a girl, ran up and down the bleacher stairs.

The ball was served. CCSU returns a hit from the right side. No bodies on the floor. Kill.

Twenty-four all. Win by two.

CCSU serves an ace. SFC sulked in defeat. They’ve given up.

Number seven from CCSU, the injured player, served the ball deep to the corner. It is going out.

“Out,” the Saint Francis team yelled.

The libero doesn’t hear her teammates, and dives for the ball. She touches it.

“Aw,” the crowd said.

The Central Connecticut State University Blue Devils win 26-24.

Leaving the Saint Francis College Terriers defeated in front of their home crowd.

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