Volleyball earns playoff spot with win against Bloomsburg

Samantha Webber - Bill Smith

Junior Samantha Webber was the main force on offense over the weekend for the Raiders, racking up 30 kills over the two matches while hitting over .300.

Even with a split weekend, the Shippensburg University volleyball team clinched the No. 2 seed in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) tournament as its regular season ended.

The Raiders took on Lock Haven and Bloomsburg universities, dropping their match with the Bald Eagles in a five-set thriller, but recovering to sweep the Huskies on Saturday. 

The loss to LHU moved SU into a tie with Seton Hill University in the overall PSAC standings for the second spot, but the FIVB point system gave the Raiders the slight advantage thanks to their numerous straight-set victories. To retain the No. 2 spot, SU needed to win in either three or four sets, which is exactly what the squad did.

Despite a dismal season record (10–16), the Bald Eagles forced the Raiders to play their best game in order to come out with a win when on the road. Three of the last four matches at LHU’s home court have gone to five sets, and the other went to four. 

Senior Morgan DeFloria had a spectacular game, reaching a new career-high in digs with 37. She also added 12 kills in the marathon match.

The Raiders needed to come back from two one-match deficits to force the fifth set, but the Bald Eagles closed out the match with a 15–12 victory. 

Junior Samantha Webber was the leader on offense for SU, grabbing 18 kills for a new season-high with three blocks on .306 hitting. Several career-highs were on the menu for the day, as sophomore Alana Pergine racked up an impressive 12 kills.

Sophomore standout Emily Hangen also contributed a career-high 28 digs, while grabbing an outstanding 51 assists. 

Her stat line was packed with four kills, two blocks and three aces to complete a spectacular day. Junior Megan Forstburg had 24 digs to put her at 527 on the season — good enough to put her in 10th in SU single-season history and gave her more than 1,400 in her career.

Reliable junior Gabriella Johnson had another impressive day, contributing 11 kills, as well as 22 digs and three blocks. 

Despite all the great performances, the Raiders did not come out with the desired outcome, but the team got back on track the next day with a dominant win over Bloomsburg.

All three sets came down to the wire against BU, but the Raiders closed each of them out with scores of 25–23, 25–21 and 25–21. 

Webber was once again one of the primary forces on offense for the squad, contributing a team-high 12 kills on .375 hitting. Johnson was a big factor in the win as well, grabbing nine kills, 10 digs and three blocks.

Hangen followed her explosion on Friday with a 27-assist match, also throwing in 14 digs and two kills. The win gave the Raiders a final record of 24–6 overall, with a 14–4 record in the PSAC. 

They finished tied in conference points with Seton Hill, but the FIVB system gave SU a 44–43 advantage with the final results of the season. The tiebreaker earned the No. 2 seed in the upcoming tournament for the Raiders after a strong season.

The PSAC tournament kicks off today with a home-court matchup with Millersville University in the quarterfinals. 

The Marauders finished their season with an overall 16–11 record and 11–7 in the PSAC to earn the conference’s No. 7 seed. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. from Heiges Field House.

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