The West Chester Volleyball team was swept by top ranked Lock Haven in the quarterfinal round of the PSAC women’s volleyball match 3-0, Tuesday night.The Lady Rams went into their game with Lock Haven having won 11 out of their last 14 games. Game one against Lock Haven was close, but the Lady Rams could not pull out the win. In games two and three Lock Haven showed why they are in first place. LHU defeated West Chester by scores of 25-22, 25-16 and 25-11.

“Lock Haven is a fabulous team and we played well the first set but they overpowered us in the second and third sets,” head coach Kassie Bellaver said.

For the fourth straight year West Chester ended their season by losing in the first round of the conference postseason tournament. Ashley Focht and Michelle Powers led the team with six kills each. Freshman Lexi Kegerise had four kills of her own during Tuesday’s match. Helen Fitzpatrick dished out 17 assists and had five digs. In the back row Kyra Yost registered eight digs.

The 2009 season proved to be another stepping stone for the West Chester volleyball team. Fortunately their team is young and most of the players will be returning next year. They will aim to be more consistent and attempt to build a better road record.

Throughout the season the team was hot and cold. In two separate occasions they had season-high winning streaks of six games. Other times they had three game losing streaks. In 2009 the Lady Rams were just 5-10 on the road. Inside Hollinger Field House WCU was almost unbeatable, as they won 18 games at home and were only defeated five times.

The 2009 season marks the third consecutive year that WCU has put up 20 plus wins in the regular season. Overall, the Lady Rams record was 23-15.

“We are proud of our 23-15 record but it is tough to have lost in the quarterfinals again,” Bellaver said. “In addition I am proud of the way the team improved throughout the season and we had so many matches where the difference between the win and loss was two points.”

The ability of the girls on the team to play their best when the game is on the line all comes from their head coach. Bellaver is calm, cool and collective and on the surface she does not seem like anything can rattle her or shake her focus. In tight games this WCU team comes through.

Next year the Lady Rams will attempt to break their glass ceiling and move beyond the quarterfinals of the postseason tournament. In Bellaver’s eyes, experience is the key and the girls returning for next year will have the experience they need to get them to the next level.

“We had so many freshmen contribute to this year’s success so they will have the experience and they will know what it takes to get deeper into the playoffs,” Bellaver said.

In 2010, five returning seniors who have all been a vital part in the 20 plus win seasons over the past three years will have their last chance to accomplish their volleyball goals. The new recruits and the returning players should make 2010 an interesting year for WCU volleyball.

“We are recruiting several players for 2010 who should add depth to the roster and help us achieve another 20 win season,” Bellaver said. “We will also have five seniors who have all been part of the 20 plus win seasons. I know that they have already set the goal to get past that quarterfinal round of the PSAC playoffs in 2010.”

Steven Fisher is a third-year student majoring in communications with a minor in Journalism. He can be reached at SF674180@wcupa.edu.

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