The West Chester University volleyball team struggled at home this weekend resulting in a three-game losing streak. WCU went a combined 1-9 in all three matches against Gannon, Mercyhurst and Edinboro this past weekend. The Golden Rams dropped their opening PSAC crossover match to Gannon 3-1 inside Hollinger Field House Friday night. The Lady Rams had a tough time getting out of their own way early in the match.
In games two, three and four WCU dug themselves into an early hole that they ultimately could not recover from.
“It feels good to start off conference play with a win against a very good West Chester team,” Gannon University head coach Matt Darling said.
Gannon University defeated the Golden Rams in game one by a score of 25-19. The game was tied nine different times and had five different lead changes. Initially, Gannon was having a hard time getting the ball through West Chester’s twin towers, Kelly Martin and Michelle Powers.
As game one progressed, Gannon made adjustments and started using tips to get the ball past WCU blockers. It was Gannon’s Lauren Sazama who closed out game one for the Lady Knights when she recorded three service aces late in the game to propel Gannon past West Chester.
It was clear in game two that Gannon carried over the momentum from their game one win. WCU started out falling behind 5-1 on the scoreboard. The Golden Rams eventually dropped game two by a score of 25-16. For the majority of game two, WCU was getting blocked at the net. However, Powers was able to record her 1 thousand kill in her career as a Golden Ram.
“Gannon did a great job with serving and with their back row attack. They also put up a great block on our outsides. Our middle hitters played very well but we needed better defense to give ourselves a chance to win,” coach Bellaver said.
Game three was the only game that WCU could salvage Friday evening. Falling behind again 9-4, the Golden Rams fought to keep the match alive by winning game three 25-23. WCU took their first lead in the game at 20-19. The Golden Rams came on with a late surge and, as always, they refused to go down easily.
Game four was perhaps the most disappointing game for WCU. They got behind 6-0 on the scoreboard and could never recover. They dropped game four 25-13, resulting in WCU’s first loss of the season. Gannon’s Kara Cullen led the charge for the Lady Knights as she had an explosive day, setting a new career high in kills with 17 and hitting .484 for the match.
Sazama recorded her second double-double of the season with 10 kills and 10 digs. She also had four aces and an assist. For WCU, Powers had a total of 10 kills throughout the match. Lexi Kegerise posted 10 kills of her own, while Helen Fitzpatrick picked up 16 assists in the loss against Gannon.
Saturday afternoon was no picnic for the Lady Rams; they were swept in a pair of PSAC crossover matches by identical 3-0 scores against Mercyhurst and Edinboro at Hollinger Field House.
WCU lost to Edinboro by scores of 25-12, 25-15, and 25-23. Game one ended with the Fighting Scots scoring eight straight points to secure the first win in a best of five series. Edinboro won game two by scoring seven straight points, putting the Golden Rams in a 2-0 hole. The Lady Rams did not give up without a fight. They lost game three by two points, but they made the Fighting Scots earn every point.
Fitzpatrick posted a double-double with 15 assists and 11 digs in the loss against Edinboro. In game one on Saturday against Mercyhurst, Fitzpatrick added 13 assists and five digs in the match. Defensive specialist Lisa Campbell contributed with 11 digs in each match as well.
Due to their three game losing streak, West Chester’s record now stands at 7-3 on the season and perhaps more importantly they are 0-3 within the PSAC division in the early going. The Lady Rams will try to put some wins together this upcoming week against PSAC East opponents.
“Tuesday’s match will give us an opportunity to get back on track and Wednesday’s match will prepare us for Kutztown. Saturday’s matchup should provide for a fantastic match and we are looking forward to a couple of PSAC East conference wins this week,” Bellaver said.
West Chester returns to action on Tuesday, Sept. 21 for its PSAC Eastern Division opener against Cheyney at 7 p.m. inside Hollinger Field House.
They will also look to right the ship as they travel to Philadelphia to take on Holy Family University on Wednesday, Sept. 22. Game time is set for 7 p.m. This upcoming weekend WCU will take on the Kutztown Golden Bears on Sept. 25 at 1 p.m.
Steven Fisher is a fourth-year student majoring in communications with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at SF674180@wcupa.edu.