Mon. Jan 17th, 2022

West Chester University women’s volleyball team started its PSAC playoff journey on Tuesday against Pitt-Johnstown. This was a team that they split the season series with, but lost three sets to one when they were on the road. And in order to keep their season going West Chester was going to have to beat Pitt-Johnstown on the road.

West Chester knew they were going to have to come out of the game firing to try and snag momentum from Pitt-Johnstown. They followed the game plan to a tee. They came out and took the first set from Pitt-Johnstown, 25-22. It was a very physical and hard fought first set of the match. Back and forth the teams went, and a little surge at the end of the set was the difference for West Chester.

The second set, West Chester came out on fire again, taking a 12-7 lead in the second set. However, they fell flat after that and Pitt-Johnstown came firing back, taking a 19-14 lead, and winning 12 of those 14 points on that run. Pitt-Johnstown was able to finish out the second set with a 25-18 win. The third set was going to be the key in the match. And both teams knew this, as it was the most exciting, exhilarating, and best set of the match.

This time Pitt-Johnstown came out of the gates firing, and it was up to West Chester to fight back. And fight back is exactly what they did. After falling behind 15-9, West Chester ripped off four straight points. But then Pitt-Johnstown ripped off three in a row, to take the 18-13 lead. West Chester needed to dig deep if they wanted to advance to the PSAC final four. After those points, West Chester took a timeout, and after the timeout Callie Krajcir ripped off back-to-back kills and put West Chester within two, 22-20. After Pitt-Johnstown won a point, West Chester ripped off four straight points, to take a 24-23 lead. But remember you have to win by two points to win the set. They couldn’t do that, as Pitt-Johnstown grabbed another point, to tie it at 24. But again West Chester dug deep, and found a way to win the next two points off of a kill by senior Julia O’Brien and then an error by Pitt-Johnstown allowed West Chester to win the crucial third set, 26-24. All the momentum was on West Chester’s side heading into the fourth set.

The momentum didn’t show right away as again they fell into a hole. But they were again able to climb out of it, down at one point 15-8. They battled all the way back, winning 17 of the final 22 points, and taking the set, 25-20, and the match, three sets to one.

This was a huge win for the Golden Rams, led by Marina Sharkey and Julia O’Brien who led the team with 14 and 13 kills respectively. This win set up a final four match up with California (Pa.). A team West Chester faced only once during the season, and they were swept, three sets to zero.

West Chester was outmatched again, this time they were able to capture a set, but lost the match, 3-1. They kept it close the first two sets, losing the first one 20-25, and then bouncing back with a 25-23 second set victory. However, the next two sets, they were just outplayed by a very good team. They lost the sets 25-15 and 25-18. Sharkey and O’Brien again led the team in kills for the match. Losing O’Brien will be a hard void for the Golden Rams to fill, but Sharkey will be returning for her senior season next year.

They will continue to grow with a lot of young players up and coming, and will look for senior leadership from Sharkey, and the many other juniors on the team, to try and take them to the coveted goal of winning a PSAC championship.

Ryan Calpin is a third-year student majoring in communications with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at RC784188@wcupa

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