With the exception of Saturday’s hiccup against Shippensburg University (25-8, 14-6) it was a successful week for the West Chester University Women’s Volleyball team (23-9, 11-9 PSAC), as they notched victories over Cheney University (2-25, 0-18) and Millersville University (15-15, 6-14) with a victory against the former helping to secure a playoff spot for the Lady Rams.
West Chester, who is currently in the midst of a seven-game home stand, topped Cheney University on Tuesday evening inside of Hollinger Fieldhouse via a sweep (25-10, 25-16 and 25-3.) Abbie Dischert’s nine kills led the way for the Golden Rams, with Victoria Cruciani and Karleigh Lutz adding five and four, respectively. Annalee Halbert double-dipped during this match, governing WCU in both aces (three), and assists (31).
Nicki Yates also added three digs of her own, and she was destructive in the dig department with 13. Halbert also added six digs of her own, as did Mandy Flynn. The Lady Rams’ focused attack stymied Cheney all night long, and the proof is in the team statistics.
Cheney put up a -.203 hitting percentage for the duration of the match, while WCU’s hitting percentage was a much more robust .345, including 44 percent in the final frame of the match. Cheney’s kills leader managed to muster up two, with the rest of their box score looking scarce from a numerical standpoint. West Chester did a good job of dominating this game from the jump, which not only spawned a victory, but a playoff berth as well.
West Chester followed up Tuesday’s triumph with a strong outing against Millersville, sweeping them 25-19, 25-15 and 25-13. Again, WCU’s defense was impeccable, limiting Millersville to a -.029 hitting percentage for the match, including two periods in which they were in the negative end of the spectrum.
Molly Grammar’s eleven kills paced WCU, with Allie Duffy adding nine and Samantha Agostini seven. Jillian Grammar was back to her distributing ways in this contest, dishing out team-high 36 assists. Yates added another 27 digs, with Halbert and Callie Krajcir combining to add 12 more.
WCU’s strong defensive execution flummoxed Millersville, with the Lady Rams adding a bunch of blocks in addition to limiting the Marauders to lowly hitting percentages. Cruciani led West Chester in blocks with eight, and Marina Sharkey (3), and Agostini (4), adding seven more.
In a rematch against Shippensburg University, West Chester looked to sweep the season series against the Red Raiders, but the opposition had other plans as they downed the Lady Rams three sets to one this time around (23-25, 25-17, 19-25, 19-25).
In front of a crowd of 207, the Red Raiders were able to combat WCU’s pristine operations with a laser-sharp attack of their own. Shippensburg managed to register a respectable .203 hitting percentage for the match and even exceeded .290 percent in the first frame.
M. Grammar poured in season-high 23 kills, but they were all for naught as the Lady Rams were downed disappointingly. Duffy poured in eleven kills of her own, and Sharkey added nine more.
J. Grammar racked up 46 assists, with Yates adding 34 digs. Krajcir (13) and J. Grammar (11) also etched their names into the digs department with strong numbers. J. Grammar’s 46 assists and 11 digs marked her third double-double of the season.
The contest was of heightened importance as there were playoff-seeding implications, with Shippensburg remaining snug in second place in the PSAC East due to the victory. Meanwhile West Chester is in fourth place with two regular season contests remaining.
The Red Raiders were able to prevail over WCU due to a balanced attack, with three girls racking up double-digit kills.
Earlier in the week, West Chester was ranked tenth in the first NCAA Regional Poll, marking their first appearance in the poll since several seasons ago. Under the tutelage of head coach Kassie Bellaver; the Lady Rams are having one of their best seasons in quite some time. WCU is five wins shy of the single-season win record (28) and while they might not meet that ledger, the fact that they were in the immediate vicinity of that accolade illustrates how successful of a season this one has been.
West Chester has two regular season home games remaining on the year, taking on University of Pittsburg at Johnstown (26-4, 17-2) on Friday Nov. 13 at 7:00 PM then Lock Haven University (19-11, 11-8) the following day Nov. 14 at 1 PM. Pitt-Johnstown was ranked No. 2 in the Regional Poll, with Lock Haven being ranked No. 7. Both of these games are of huge magnitude, so come on out and support the Lady Rams.
B.J. Boyer is a third-year student and he can be reached at WB806695@wcupa.edu