The West Chester University Golden Rams volleyball team suffered a close loss to PSAC rival Kutztown, but swept both Cheyney University and Lincoln University over the weekend. The Golden Rams were unable to hold off a strong Kutztown University squad in a pivotal matchup that had two of the top teams in the PSAC Eastern Division go head-to-head. Inside Hollinger Field House, more than 200 spectators cheered on the Lady Rams in perhaps their most competitive match of the season.
West Chester dropped its second-straight league match, falling farther behind division-leading Kutztown (18-7, 8-7). The Golden Bears set out to avenge a sweep they suffered at the hands of WCU in Keystone arena last month by painfully close scores of 24-26, 28-26, 25-21, 23-25, 15-9.
The match, held on Tuesday Oct. 19, featured 46 ties and 24 lead changes, including 17 ties in the first game alone. Each of the first four sets in the match was tied at 20-20. A total of nine lead changes occurred in the first set as well. “I try to stay even-keeled during every match butthat was one of the most exciting matches that I have everbeen a part of so it was not easy,” coach Bellaver said.
By the fifth, and deciding, match, West Chester had fallen behind, 8-4, when senior middle hitter Michelle Powers was called for a carry. Kutztown benefitted from the two-point swing to take a 9-4 lead. The Lady Rams battled back to 11-9; however, the Bears garnered their second wind and closed out the match on a 4-0 run.
“WCU has always been a strong team and a tough opponent for us. We like playing them because they push us just as much as we push them, fortunately for us this time we were able to come out on top,” said KU’s Nora Alexander.
One of Kutztown’s main objectives going into the match was to shut down the Golden Ram’s twin towers. “Our main concern was to shut down Michelle Powers and Kelly Martin. Although we didn’t shut them down completely we did not allow them to get as many opportunities as last game,” Alexander said.
KU’s Katie Lutz registered 20 blocks as the Bears posted 25 blocks as a team. Erin Kissling recorded eight assisted blocks as well. West Chester sophomore Lexi Kegerise led WCU with a game-high 18 kills. Powers contributed with 14 of her own, while Allison Grammer had 11. Helen Fitzpatrick registered 10 kills, 50 assists and 14 digs, posting her first triple double of the season. Her 50 assists was a season-best effort.
Lisa Campbell tied a season-high with 33 digs to lead the Golden Rams. Kissling notched 16 kills and 10 digs for a double-double. Jamie Celia matched her 19 digs defensively as well. Lindsay Confer posted 15 kills for the Bears.
Despite a tough loss, Bellaver and her squad remain optimistic. “The good news is that we still have eight matches remaining and we plan on winning from here on out,” Bellaver said.
After a tough loss against Kutztown, the Lady Rams took out some of their frustrations against Cheyney University. On Friday night WCU swept Cheyney 3-0 in a PSAC women’s volleyball match inside Cope Hall. WCU won by scores of 25-8, 25-11 and 25-4. Cheyney’s overall record now stands at 1-19 and 0-14 in the PSAC. WCU has now won four of its last six contests and swept the season series over Cheyney.
Jamie Hughes had nine kills and Alyssa Brown recorded eight to help lead the Golden Rams’ attack. Hannah Sweitzer recorded 13 assists while Dana Markol and Tyler Schaefer each posted six digs. Senior, Ashley Focht also contributed with six kills on Friday night against Cheyney.
On Saturday, WCU traveled to Lincoln University to play a non-conference match inside Manuel Rivero Hall. West Chester easily defeated the Lincoln Lions with a 3-0 sweep. The Golden Rams now have a record of 19-9 overall and are 6-9 within the PSAC Conference. At home, WCU is 6-4 on the season and on the road the Lady Rams have an impressive 9-2 record. At neutral sites WCU is 4-3.
Bellaver and her squad stand just one win away from yet another 20-win season. With six games remaining WCU feels pretty good about accomplishing that feat.
West Chester is back in action Friday, Oct. 29 when they take on Lock Haven University inside Hollinger Field House, the game starts at 7 p.m. The Golden Rams will play host to East Stroudsburg at 2 p.m. and Bowie State at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30.
The remainder of the season will have Philadelphia University and both PSAC rivals Shippensburg and Millersville all coming to Hollinger Field House to take on the Golden Rams.
Steven Fisher is a fourth-year student majoring in communications with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at SF674180@wcupa.edu.