The Shippensburg University volleyball team continued its roll through conference play this past weekend with dominant home triumphs over East Stroudsburg University and Kutztown University as it remains unbeaten in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) including a seven-game win streak.
With three weeks of conference play in the books, the Raiders now stand alone as the only team to remain unbeaten in the PSAC.
During the week, sophomore Samantha Webber became the third consecutive Raider to earn the PSAC Central Division Athlete of the Week. She joined junior Morgan DeFloria and sophomore Kendall Johnson to earn the nod over the past three weeks. It was the first time since 2007 that SU had three straight players to earn the athlete of the week award.
The first game on the weekend saw SU control most of the match against East Stroudsburg as the Raiders did not trail in the first two sets and won them easily 25-14, 25-19.
In the first set, freshman Emily Hagen recorded three service aces for SU during a 9-0 run. The 9-0 run came as the Raiders had a slim 5-4 advantage over the Warriors. East Stroudsburg attempted to slow down the Raider’s attack as they called a timeout with the score 9-4 in favor of SU. The timeout did not help, however, as SU continued to pull away as it took a 14-4 lead.
The Raiders were in cruise control the rest of the first set as they would win the set by a score of 25-14. The 11-point set advantage for SU matches the largest set victory so far this season as the Raiders accomplished the feat twice against Notre Dame (Ohio) and Urbana in early-season non-conference action.
The second set saw much of the same dominance by the Raiders as they again did not trail during the set. After the scoring was tied 1-1, SU never allowed the Warriors to tie the set as the Raiders took a 2-0 match advantage with a 25-19 second set victory.
The Warriors would not surrender, however, in the third set as they would find their first lead of the match after a service ace by East Stroudsburg’s Tina Predojevic gave them a 6-4 advantage.
The 6-4 Warrior lead would not last long as SU used a hard-hitting 7-0 run to turn the the deficit into a 11-6 advantage in favor of SU.
The Raiders won the final set 25-20 and led the rest of the way through by at least three points or more after the 7-0 run which kept any comeback by the Warriors to a minimum.
SU controlled the stat sheet in the match as it had a 41-23 kill advantage over the Warriors. Leading the charge for the Raiders was DeFloria who had a match high 12 kills. DeFloria was one dig away from recording a double-double (10 or more kills, and 10 or more digs).
Other strong performances for SU came from sophomore Megan Forstburg with a team high 16 digs. From her setter position, Hagen recorded 14 digs of her own to go along with 31 assists. Junior Courtney Malott continued to shine with both six kills and digs, respectfully, and added two powerful aces. Johnson made her presences known with five kills and nine digs.
The Raiders had a quick turnaround for their second match of the weekend with an afternoon contest against Kutztown, for the second match of the weekend.
After the score was tied 5-5 in the first set, SU went on a quick 4-0 run to take an 8-5 lead capped off by a DeFloria service ace. Back and fourth action continued in the first set but again used a strong 5-0 run to turn a slim 18-16 lead into a 23-16 advantage. A kill by Webber sealed a 25-18 first set victory for SU.
Kutztown would win the second set in the match which was the first set SU surrendered since loosing the second set against Gannon on Sept. 22. The second set was tied 18-18 but the Golden Bears would outlast SU to win 25-22.
The Raiders would take the final two sets of the match, 25-15 and 25-20, to capture the match victory 3-1, which saw SU score the final five points in the third set after leading 20-15 and saw the Raiders flip a fourth set 15-14 deficit into a 25-20 win.
Leading SU in the match was Webber as she had a match-high 14 kills. Other Raiders to record double-digit kills were DeFloria with 12 and Johnson with 10. Three Raiders recorded 19 or more digs as Forstburg led the way with 20. Both Malott and DeFloria had 19 of their own, respectfully.
The Raiders now embark on a three-game road swing with trips to Millersville, Cheyney, and West Chester, which begins Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at Millersville.