The Shippensburg University volleyball team had a full slate of road games this week, as it traveled to Millersville University, Lock Haven University and the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown (UPJ) for Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) action.
The Raiders won two out of their three matchups, beating Millersville on Tuesday, 3–0, and Lock Haven on Friday, 3–1. SU then went on to drop its final match of the week versus UPJ on Saturday, 1–3.
The Raiders clinched a berth in the PSAC tournament with their win over Millersville, and then locked up the No. 5 seed with its win over Lock Haven. This gave SU a chance to jump UPJ for the PSAC Central Division title and No. 3 seed in the PSAC tournament, but SU ultimately lost to Pitt-Johnstown, forcing it to settle for the No. 5 seed.
The Raiders made quick work of Millersville in their first match of the week, sweeping the Marauders by set scores of 25–22, 25–19 and 25–21 at Pucillo Gymnasium.
The Raiders offense was on fire versus Millersville, hitting the ball at .278 — good enough for their fourth-best hitting night of the year. The SU offense also racked up 44 kills and seven aces, compared to Millersville’s 35 kills and 3 aces.
SU then went on to avenge its Oct. 22 loss to Lock Haven by beating the struggling Bald Eagles in four sets, 25–20, 25–18, 21–25 and 25–20.
Senior Annie Goerl joined elite company in Friday’s game, becoming the eighth Raider to record more than 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs in their career. Goerl hit .283, while putting up 18 kills and 17 digs to capture her eighth double-double of the season.
SU’s win at Lock Haven is its third straight at Thomas Fieldhouse.
The Raiders then travelled to UPJ to take on the Mountain Cats. SU went into the match with a four-game winning streak, but left Johnstown with a loss after four sets. Set scores were 25–20, 25–18, 22–25 and 25–15 in UPJ’s favor.
While most statistical categories were close, UPJ had the edge in hitting percentage .194 to SU’s .131. The Mountain Cats also led in blocks and aces, 10–5 and 7–2, respectively.
The Raiders now focus their attention on the PSAC tournament, where they will match up with No. 4 seed California University of Pennsylvania in the first round.
Despite the fact that SU won the only head-to-head contest of the year, California claims the No. 4 seed. This is because of the PSAC’s new point-based tiebreaker system, which only considers head-to-head records for division titles, but not tournament seeding. SU would have faced off against California regardless of the new system, but it did affect the location of the game. Instead of Tuesday’s match taking place at Heiges Field House, SU will have travel to California University.
SU has an opportunity to repeat as PSAC champions after winning the first PSAC title in school history last year. The Raiders entered last year’s tournament as the East’s No. 2 seed.
Tuesday’s PSAC quarterfinals match is set to start at 7 p.m. at California University.