Sun. Jan 16th, 2022

After opening the 2012-13 season with a lengthy string of 10 consecutive road games, the women’s volleyball team finally got the chance to play in front of the hometown crowd this weekend as West Chester hosted the third annual Ram Fest tournament. Their win against University of Sciences (25-23, 27-25, 25-23) last Tuesday left the girls with only two days to prepare for their first match of the tournament against Philadelphia University on Friday.

However, an unmistakable air of confidence was evident in their play this weekend as the team is really starting to click as a unit, winning three of four matches. It seems the long road stretch to start the season proved to be the perfect opportunity to develop one of the most important ingredients in any winning formula: chemistry.

“It’s a good bonding experience. It gives the girls time to get to know each other off the court, which only helps them to work together better come game time,” Coach Bellaver explained. Come game time Friday, the Rams put on a show in Hollinger Fieldhouse, securing wins in both games played.

In the first match of the night, the team went toe-to-toe with a well-rounded Philadelphia University club coached by Mark Magarity (184-77 since joining the team). After losing the first set (17-25), West Chester came alive, taking the next three sets (25-18, 25-23, 25-22) to grab the “W” in their first home match of the year. Outside hitter Lexi Kegerise had an impressive performance, posting 11 kills, three service aces and 12 digs. Mary Faust and Mandy Flynn combined for 41 of the team’s 50 assists and junior libero Dana Markol contributed in a big way on defense with 16 digs.

The girls did not have much time to savor their first home victory, as their second match against Ohio Valley was underway less than 20 minutes later. OVU hoped to avenge a loss in their first engagement to Daemen, but the Rams had other ideas, cruising to a victory in three sets (25-10, 25-15, 25-20). Marina Sharkey had a season-high 12 kills along with two block assists for 13 points against the Fighting Scots. Freshman setter Tori Hutchinson also recorded a season best, setting up her teammates with six assists in the game. The win would improve the team’s overall record to 8-4 moving into the second day of the tournament.

Coach Bellaver was very pleased with the way the team has worked together on the court this preseason. She gives a lot of credit to the two senior captains, Lexi Kegerise and Kelly Martin, for helping the group come together in such a short time. Bellaver expects the same out of everyone regardless of experience.

“Class really doesn’t come into effect once they’re on the court. They’re just all volleyball players out there,” Bellaver said. The confidence the coach has in her players definitely makes a positive impact on the team’s performance.
Saturday’s action marked the final day of the preseason for the Golden Rams with an early start against the only other team still undefeated in the tournament, the Daemen Wildcats. The Wildcats would put an abrupt end to West Chester’s four-game winning streak, needing only three sets to come out on top (25-20, 25-23, 25-16). The Rams did not let the loss prevent them from ending the tournament with an assertive 3-0 win (25-17, 25-16, 25-18) in the afternoon game over Holy Family, leaving them at 9-5 heading into conference. play next Friday.
Joshua Shapiro is a second-year student majoring in English and education. He can be reached at JS762110@wcupa.edu

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