Women’s Volleyball opened up conference play this week after almost a week-long break against California University of PA, the first of two games up at Sturzebecker Health Science Center. This is after a tournament at Kutztown where the team encountered their first real resistance of the season.
The Lady Rams entered the contest with a record of 10-1, but left with a record of 10-2 as Cal U handed the team a loss three sets to one (25-21, 25-16, 18-25, 25-22).
An unideal start for the squad as they begin their conference record with a loss. Cal U played stalwart defense with an incredible 12 blocks to West Chester’s three.
Junior Abbie Dischert led the way in kills with 12, while also adding 16 digs along with a block and an ace. Captain Karleigh Lutz followed up in second place with nine kills, contributing two aces and a block as well.
Junior Allie Duffy chipped in with two blocks, and Jillian Grammer dominated the assist department yet again with 40. Nicki Yates was the dig leader with 23. The team finished with a subpar hitting percentage of .161 on the day, with other team captain Victoria Cruciani setting an example with a very good .333 personal percentage.
West Chester had little time to rest as they faced off against Seton Hill the next day. The team evened up their conference record with a thoroughly dominating performance as they swept the Griffins in three sets (16-25, 16-25, 10-25) in front of a strong crowd of 183 spectators.
Compared to last game’s hitting percentage, West Chester jumped from .161 to a more average .277 percent. Then compare that to Seton Hill’s dreadful -.075 percent. In fact, WCU led Seton Hill in all categories, showcasing a strong bounce-back performance.
Lutz and Dischert tied for the team lead in kills with 10 apiece, with Amy Kovacs following up with eight.
Lutz had another well-rounded game adding four aces, nine digs, and an assist. Cruciani played stout defense, she had eight blocks on the day. Grammer finished the game with 33 assists, with second place 32 assists away as Yates and Lutz tied with one each. Yates also led the team in digs with 18. Alex Gleason contributed an ace and chipped in with two blocks on defense.
Head Coach Kassie Bellaver had this to say on the win, “We played so well on Saturday. That was one of the best matches we have played in recent history. It was a great atmosphere in the gym and the energy on the court was amazing. I am proud of how the girls responded to a tough loss on Friday night.”
The team had a long break in between games as they traveled to Clarion University to take on the Golden Eagles on Friday.
WCU could not hold on to the momentum from the victory against Seton Hill as they fell to Clarion in four sets in a highly competitive game (23-25, 25-23, 22-25, 23-25).
Every set went down to the wire in this matchup. West Chester displayed another strong defensive performance with 12 blocks and 92 digs, but it was not enough to put them over the edge.
Lutz led the team in the kills department with 17, followed up by Kovacs who had nine. Grammer had three aces, four blocks, 10 digs, and led the team with 38 assists. Emily Ahern followed Grammer up with two aces.
Duffy was the team leader in blocks with 10. Yates finished the evening with 36 digs. Sophomore Peighton Wright found the court for the first time since early September and made the most of her opportunity, she had nine kills and three blocks.
West Chester starts their PSAC journey with a 1-2 record. They face off against IUP Saturday, then travel to Lock Haven on Oct. 6 and then Pitt Johnstown on Oct. 7.
Tyler Grace is a first-year student with an undeclared major. They can be reached at TG885739@wcupa.edu.