The West Chester women’s volleyball season came to an end this past Friday night when the Golden Rams fell to top seeded California (Pa.) in the PSAC semi-finals.
The loss to Calif. came only three days after West Chester staged an exciting, and slightly unexpected, win.
Earlier in the week, West Chester traveled to Kutztown to face their PSAC East rival in a quarterfinal matchup. Although West Chester was only seeded one slot lower than Kutztown, the Golden Rams were considered heavy underdogs after the Golden Bears swept them in straight sets twice this season.
Kutztown played a close first set with the Golden Rams, but eventually lost the first frame, 25-23. From that point forward, West Chester was strong offensively and never let Kutztown get that close again.
The Rams took the second set 25-18, and the third, 25-16, to knock out the Bears in straight sets.
Lexi Kegerise had a strong game for the Golden Rams, accounting for 19 of the team’s 47 kills. Kelly Martin also added another eight. Helen Fitzpatrick had a double-double for the Golden Rams with 26 assists and 14 digs.
The win not only guaranteed West Chester a Friday night matchup with Calif., but it also marked the first time in head coach Kassie Bellaver’s led her team to the conference semi-finals. For five consecutive seasons, West Chester has lost in the quarterfinals.
West Chester needed an exciting victory in the quarterfinals. They were going to face a tough team in the semi-finals and needed the momentum from a big win to carry them into Friday night.
Calif. (Pa.), who also won in straight sets in the quarterfinals against Gannon, had the best record in the entire league and is consistently a top contender in the PSAC year after year.
West Chester hit the road yet again on Friday night to meet up with the Vulcans. And again, the Golden Rams were considered heavy underdogs.
In the first set, West Chester maintained contention, but were unable to top the Vulcans and eventually fell 25-20.
The second set let a little more life out of West Chester. The Vulcans won 25-16 to take a commanding two set lead.
But West Chester was able to bounce back and take the third set from Calif., 25-23. The close set put a little bit of a spark back into West Chester’s game, but their success was short lived and they eventually dropped the fourth set 25-12 to give Calif. a ticket to the PSAC finals.
Kegerise had 17 kills for the Golden Rams to go along with her three blocks and 12 digs. Allison Grammer and Julie Boblits each added nine kills. Julie O’Brien led the team with six blocks. Fitzpatrick assisted on 20 points while Mary Faust added another 18. Campbell had another strong defensive outing with 26 digs.
The semi-final loss was the last game for seniors Campbell, Boblits and Fitzpatrick. All three players are letter winners for the Golden Rams.
The Calif. win put them in a final matchup with Lock Haven, who took Clarion to five sets in the semi-finals before eventually knocking them out.
The PSAC finals, which were played on Saturday, Nov. 12, was a closely played, four set match. Again, Calif. took the first two sets from their opponent before dropping the third. They were able to bounce back in the fourth set to capture the win and the title (26-24, 25-22, 19-25, 25-22).
With the win, the Vulcans are celebrating their fourth title in the past five years. It is the seventh in the school’s history of the program. Calif.’s Brandy Harris was named tournament MVP.
Amy Festa is a fifth-year student majoring in English with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at AF649219@wcupa.edu.