West Chester University clinched a playoff berth in the 2010 PSAC postseason tournament next month by defeating East Stroudsburg last weekend. “We are very pleased to know we are in the playoffs. It all comes down to one matchand I knowthe team is prepared to battle for the win,” coach Kassie Bellaver said.

The Golden Rams’ senior class won all eight matches against the Warriors over the past four years as WCU extended its personal winning streak over ESU to eight.

“ESUalways has a good team, but we match up well against them year after year and have continued to win. We usually hit well against them and our serving is always tough,” Bellaver said.

West Chester University crushed Philadelphia University in a non-conference women’s volleyball match inside Hollinger Field House Tuesday night. WCU swept their opponent by scores of 25-21, 25-17, and 26-24. Philadelphia University concluded its regular season with an 18-8 overall record.

The Golden Rams hit .254 as a team, knocking down 44 kills. Michelle Powers and Lexi Kegerise each posted nine kills, and Ashley Focht registered eight in Tuesday night’s win over Philadelphia University. Allison Grammer recorded five kills and hit .357 for the match while Kelly Martin notched seven kills.

It was a very balanced attack up front for head coach Kassie Bellaver’s squad.

“When everyone is in the zone, we are a powerful team for sure. It really depends on how good our serve receive is and that transitions to a good offense,” Bellaver said.

Helen Fitzpatrick once again had another solid game on the court dishing out 25 assists.

“It helps to know that Helen [Fitzpatrick] has lots of weapons to choose from and it makes it hard for the defense to read where she is going to set,” Bellaver said.

Powers also contributed with four assisted blocks. Lisa Campbell registered a team-high 17 digs, and Dana Markol posted 12 digs for the Golden Rams. Nora Jingeleski also had nine Digs against Philadelphia University.

In a matchup with playoff implications, WCU was swept by Shippensburg in a 3-0 PSAC volleyball match inside Hollinger Field House Friday night. Shippensburg defeated WCU by scores of 19-25, 19-25 and 22-15. Due to the loss, West Chester will be the fourth seed in PSAC east conference that will start Tuesday.

The Golden Rams fell behind early in game one against Shippensburg by a 10-5 score, and were never able to recover from the early deficit. West Chester’s inability to put a string of points together kept them from building any momentum. WCU was unable to get any bounces to go their way in Friday night’s loss. Even when the Rams’ defenders would go up and block a kill, the balls were landing out of bounds for a point against.

Shippensburg was able to capitalize on WCU’s mistakes and occasionally the Raiders caught them out of position. The Raiders are not a flashy team, but they do not make many mistakes. They seem to always be in the right position.

In addition to their positioning, Shippensburg’s players made quite a few hustle plays to keep the volley going.

“They did make some great plays but our serving game did not take them out of system enough,” Bellaver said.

In game three WCU fought hard, but ended up losing by a score of 22-25.

The Golden Rams fell victim to the tip during the third game. Instead of spiking the ball, Shippensburg would finesse the ball over the net into an open area of the court.

Powers had 17 kills and hit .394, but it was not enough for WCU to overcome the Raiders attack.

“Michelle [Powers] played great but we could not get our offense as a whole in sync,” Bellaver said.

Campbell registered 17 digs and Fitzpatrick posted 30 assists in the loss. Powers also contributed defensively with four block assists.

WCU closed out its regular-season schedule with senior day on Saturday with a home contest against Millersville. Before the match inside Hollinger Field House the volleyball team celebrated the careers of seniors Kyra Yost, Nora Jingeleski, Ashley Focht and Michelle Powers.

The Golden Rams came out firing on all cylinders in game one. WCU made quick work of Millersville, winning game one by a score of 25-9. Early on the Marauders were having trouble handling WCU’s twin towers, Powers and Martin. The Lady Rams went on a 14-4 run to close out game one.

Game two started right where game one left off, WCU got out to an early 9-3 lead. Yet again in game two, it was Powers and Martin who were overpowering Millersville upfront. Halfway through the match the momentum seemed to swing the Marauders way. Millersville had a late charge but eventually lost game two by a score of 25-22.

With a two-games-to-none lead, WCU came out flat in games three and four. They fell behind in game three for the first time all day and were unable to retake the lead. Millersville, on the other hand, seemed to flip a switch. They were getting stronger and playing better as the match went on. Millersville defeated WCU in game three by a score of 25-23.

In game four, WCU looked like an uninspired team. They showed no sign of life and were not executing on the court. Millersville forced a fifth game by defeating WCU in game four by a score of 25-19. Half way through the fifth game the Lady Rams once again found themselves trailing 13-7. After a well timed timeout, Bellaver’s squad went on an 11-2 run to win game five 17-15.

WCU was up 16-15 when Fitzpatrick gave a perfect set to Kegerise, who then unloaded a bomb that landed just inside the line for the win.

The Golden Rams finished the 2010 regular season with a 22-11 overall record and an 8-11 PSAC record. For the fourth consecutive year WCU will be making an appearance in the PSAC postseason. The Lady Rams will now travel to regular-season champion Lock Haven for a PSAC Quarterfinal matchup against the Lady Eagles.

This will mark the second straight year in which West Chester and Lock Haven meet in the first round of the playoffs. Lock Haven swept the season series from West Chester, squeezing out a 3-2 victory at home on Oct. 2 while sweeping the Lady Rams at Hollinger Field House on Oct. 29. All three games were close in score. The three-game sweep was not really indicative of how close the match was.

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

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