The Shippensburg University volleyball team played three games this week, and after a loss in the first game against Pitt-Johnstown on Tuesday, it put up victories in the second and third games against West Chester on Friday and Millersville on Saturday.
The Pitt-Johnstown game ended in four sets going 3-1. Shippensburg flipped that against West Chester and Millersville, going 3-1 in both games.
The win against Millersville on Saturday earned Shippensburg a berth in the 2023 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Tournament. The set scores against its division rivals were 25-15, 25-18, 25-27 and 25-16.
The Raiders did not give Millersville a chance to breathe with an imposing offensive performance in the first two sets. Millersville won the third set before Shippensburg took the win in Set 4 for a tournament spot.
Gracen Nutt, a Shippensburg freshman, had a dominating performance in the Millersville game. Nutt had a career-high 18 kills and five aces with only two errors.
In the Pitt-Johnstown game, the set scores were 25-22, 21-25, 22-25 and 19-25. Each set was close until the end, but with Pitt-Johnstown capitalizing on small mistakes from Shippensburg, they took the game. Shippensburg won the first set by utilizing their timeouts to disrupt the other team’s momentum, a tactic with which Pitt-Johnstown also found success.
Shippensburg Head Coach Leanne Piscotty reflected on what happened in the game and said, “They did a good job at exposing all the little things that we need to get better at. You know, whether it’s being stopped on defense or expecting the tip.”
Piscotty also highlighted the importance of the timeouts in the first set, saying, “So, volleyball’s really a lot about momentum, and if you get a hot server, and they had to do the same thing against us, you just have to break up the momentum of a server sometimes.”
Although Shippensburg lost to Pitt-Johnstown, Shippensburg sophomore Kearstin Davis had an amazing defensive game. Davis posted 20 digs against Pitt-Johnstown and 38 assists, two block assists and two kills. Davis also recently earned the spot of Eastern Division Defensive Athlete of the Week.
Another standout player from the Pitt-Johnstown game was Nutt. Nutt had the lead in kills for the team with 14 and only had two errors. She went .286 on 42 attempts, which was also a team high.
Shippensburg did not stay in the losing column very long with their win against West Chester happening just three days later on Friday. The set scores were 25-19, 25-13, 24-26 and 25-16. Standout performances from multiple Shippensburg players lead to a season-best .358 hitting percentage from the team.
Shippensburg senior Kaitlyn Townsend had an excellent performance in the West Chester game with 13 kills and no errors on 19 attempts. She had a hitting percentage of .684 and had the most efficient hitting performance from a Shippensburg athlete since 2008.
Shippensburg will play again at 6 p.m. Friday at Lock Haven.