This season is something special for the Shippensburg University volleyball team.
Having already captured a school-record 15-match win streak this season, the team has barely lost any momentum. Last weekend, SU grabbed its 19th and 20th wins of the season against Bloomsburg University and Lock Haven University, respectively.
With two more victories in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC), the Raiders are now 10–1 in the conference. Both wins were straight-set sweeps to boost the season total to nine in the PSAC.
In the first matchup of the weekend, the squad handily defeated the Huskies on Friday night in set scores of 25–12, 25–11 and 25–12.
Junior Gabriella Johnson led the team with a double-double, grabbing 10 kills and 12 digs. She also added an ace and a block. Sophomore Emily Hangen continued her spectacular season, racking up 34 assists along with a team-high 17 digs on .400 hitting.
Senior Morgan DeFloria had a more laidback night, only appearing in two of the three sets while grabbing four kills. Junior Kendall Johnson had a pretty big night, hitting .471 with 10 kills and and four blocks.
BU is in its first varsity season and has not been overly impressive. The experienced Raiders squad was able to limit the Huskies to just 10 kills and an overall negative .088 hitting percentage. Sophomore Alana Pergine and junior Samantha Webber had very similar nights in attack, each earning seven kills on .385 hitting.
The following match was just as dominant for the Raiders, downing Lock Haven in a sweep — 25–21, 25–21 and 25–13. Hangen was the standout, racking up 43 assists and 10 digs to go with three blocks. Hangen has led the team all season in assists, currently sitting at 982 on the season.
DeFloria was back in full action Saturday, earning her 13th double-double of the season. She had a team-high 15 kills and 11 digs. DeFloria had two set-ending kills in the first and second sets of the day. Webber also was active on offense, recording nine kills on .250 hitting.
Kendall was impressive for the second match in a row, earning 12 kills with a .400 hitting percentage. She had 22 kills over the weekend’s two matches. She also had eight blocks across both days after grabbing four more against the Bald Eagles.
The Raiders are off to their best start to this point of the season in school history. The next closest record is owned by the 1990 squad at 19–4.
Last weekend’s pair of matches did not go so well for the squad, as the Raiders struggled against Mercyhurst University in Erie, as well as Gannon University. The two losses were only the fourth and fifth overall for the team — second and third in the conference.
The loss to the Lakers was an upset since Mercyhurst has not performed well this season, earning a record of 9–16 and 4–8 in the PSAC. DeFloria still led the charge with her 14th double-double of the season, grabbing 16 kills and 19 digs. Gabriella also did her part with a double-double of her own (13 kills, 10 digs).
Hangen stayed consistent, racking up 42 more assists in the match. Junior Morgan Forstburg added 26 digs to reach the 1,300 mark, good enough for 10th all-time in school history. Even with all the efficiency by the Raiders, the Lakers still pulled away in the final three sets after SU claimed the first (25–20, 22–25, 25–27, 21–25).
The team tried to rebound against the Golden Knights, but the Raiders lost in straight sets for the first time this season. Gannon is currently ranked No. 21 in Division II, so it would not be an easy match, but for a team that has been playing as well as SU has, the sweep had to be unexpected.
The highlight of an otherwise disappointing match came when DeFloria became a member of the exclusive 1,000/1,000 club. She racked up 12 digs to put her over the 1,000 mark for her career. She is just the seventh Raider to achieve this feat. DeFloria sits second in Raider history for career kills with 1,413 — adding 10 more against Gannon.
The defense was active on the night, recording the second-most blocks in a match this season with 11 1/2. Webber led the way with six total blocks, while DeFloria and Kendall both had four block assists.
The two consecutive losses drop SU to 20–5 on the season and 10–3 in the PSAC.
The team will next welcome Slippery Rock University to Heiges Field House on Friday to kick off a weekend at home before taking on Edinboro University on Saturday. Tip-off against the Rock is at 7 p.m.