With the 2016 regular season nearing a close, the Shippensburg University volleyball team wrapped up a seven-match home stand with two wins and a loss last weekend.
No win could have been bigger for the Raiders than the impressive win against Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) rival University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown on Friday night. The Raiders downed the Mountain Cats in straight sets, 25–13, 29–27 and 27–25.
Kendall Johnson was a force to be reckoned with, racking up a career-high 14 kills on 20 attempts. She also tallied five blocks in the Raider win. As a team, the Raiders accumulated 11 blocks. Samantha Webber led the team with six blocks on the night.
The second set was a back-and-forth affair that featured 16 lead changes. Then, SU’s Gabriella Johnson and Webber teamed up for a block to give the Raiders a 26–25 lead. The Mountain Cats fought back, but a kill from SU’s Annie Goerl and another block by Gabriella Johnson and Webber ended the set.
Overall, the win for the Raiders was one of the biggest of the year.
“It was a great win for us,” SU coach Leanne Piscotty said. “They are a great rival and they played a great match. We played a great match, I believe that is the best we have played all season long.”
The win improved the Raiders to 20–3 overall, and 8–2 in the PSAC.
After the win, the Raiders attempted to carry the momentum into their next game on Saturday, Oct. 22 against Lock Haven University.
SU fell behind early in multiple sets against Lock Haven, and was unable to recover, dropping the match three sets to one. The set scores were 25–18, 21–25, 19–25 and 20–25.
After a strong first set, the Raiders dropped three-straight sets against the Bald Eagles. It was a devastating loss for an SU squad that is hoping to find itself at the top of the PSAC, and earn a spot in the NCAA tournament at the end of the season. The loss snapped a seven-game winning streak for the Raiders.
“Coming off of an incredible match — a very emotional match where we played phenomenally — I think we just had an emotional letdown,” Piscotty said.
A slow start in the second and third sets proved extremely costly to the Raiders in the match. SU trailed 7–0 before registering a point against the Bald Eagles in the second set. In the third set, the Raiders fell behind 20–13 before rallying, but ultimately dropped the set.
Piscotty gave credit to the Bald Eagles for coming out and playing a strong game.
“Honestly, we did not expect Lock Haven to play like that,” she said. “I believe that is the best that Lock Haven has played. They were highly motivated, and played with high energy and we were a little flat.”
The Raiders righted the ship in the second match of the day, dropping Ohio Valley University in straight sets: 25–12, 25–14 and 25–20.
Goerl led the way with seven kills in the victory, while Gabriella Johnson finished with six. Webber recorded eight blocks and Brittany Whitacre served five aces in the win. Maura Nolan led the way with 24 assists.
“It was important for us to come out and execute, and be disciplined, and be energetic in a positive way and we did that,” Piscotty said.
The Raiders are now 21–4 on the season, and 8–3 in the PSAC. SU will hit the road Oct. 28 and Oct. 29 for matchups with Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Clarion University, respectively.