The Shippensburg University volleyball team made its fifth NCAA Tournament appearance in school history and its fourth in the last five years under coach Leanne Piscotty this season.
SU saw its season come to an end Friday, as the Raiders fell to Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) rival Edinboro University in five sets.
The set scores were 14–25, 25–17, 19–25, 26–24 and 15–13 in Edinboro’s favor.
“We got into a battle with Edinboro — this was our eighth opportunity to go five sets with them,” Piscotty said to SU Sports Information. “We are rivals for sure because it is always a phenomenal match. We thought we had our opportunities in the fourth set with their backs against the wall, but they came back on us and forced a fifth set. The pressure was on them to make that comeback and they did.”
SU’s history with Edinboro involves a bunch of tightly-contested, five-set matches, including the last eight matches which all went five sets.
Overall in the match, the Raiders outscored the Fighting Scots by five points. But Edinboro recovered by taking the last two sets by two points each to edge SU. The Raiders achieved a match-point in the fourth set, but Edinboro rallied back to force the fifth and deciding set.
The match also marked the fourth time out of the last five matches between SU and Edinboro that were decided by two points in the fifth set.
The Raiders led 1–0 and 2–1 against the Fighting Scots, but were unable to hold the lead. Edinboro rallied back from a 22–19 deficit in the fourth set and recovered from trailing 9–7 in the fifth set.
The Raiders were led by senior Annie Goerl who finished with a season-high 21 kills and 11 digs, good for her 11th double-double of the year. Goerl also had two block assists.
Freshman Gabriella Johnson was a strong hitter for the Raiders as well, as she smacked 13 kills.
Piscotty gave Edinboro a different look by changing her starting lineup. She put senior Rebecca Pryor in to matchup with middle hitter Latoya Hutchinson. Pryor ended her career with her strongest match, tallying a career-high 12 kills and just one error. She also led SU with five block assists.
Senior Maura Nolan also became just the ninth player in PSAC history to surpass 5,000 career assists. Nolan finished with 48 assists, 16 digs and served three aces — the same amount of aces that Edinboro’s entire team had in the match.
Sophomore Morgan DeFloria added 11 kills, and freshman Samantha Webber added four kills and three blocks.
Senior Maria Peluso led the Raiders with 20 digs in the match, while also contributing six assists and two aces. Freshman Morgan Forstburg also had 15 digs.
The match ends the Raiders 2016 season. SU went 26–8 this season, including a 13–5 record in the PSAC during the regular season.
Piscotty finishes the 2016 season one win shy of 300. SU will look to return to the NCAA tournament next season, as DeFloria, Webber, Forstburg, Johnson and many other young players will return next season.