On Tuesday, Oct. 30, West Chester Volleyball traveled up north to take on Millersville University. WCU entered the match with a 7-8 PSAC conference record, behind Millersville in the standings. Unfortunately, the margin between the two teams grew as West Chester dropped the match to the Marauders in four sets (27-25, 22-25, 15-25, 21-25). Although the first two sets were highly competitive, West Chester finished the third set with a hitting percentage of zero. The Marauders consistently kept their hitting percentage over .220 the entire match, while closing the game out with percentages of .321 and .317 in the final two sets.
Third-year right side hitter Rachel Robb stepped up and led the team in kills with 16. Robb also contributed on the defensive side with three blocks. First-year Sarah Polacek followed up with 11 kills, who was then followed by Allie Duffy with nine. Team captain Jillian Grammer did all she could in the loss, racking up three aces, five blocks, 46 assists and 15 digs. Grace Whitney was dominant on defense, blocking eight shots. Nicki Yates had a solid performance with a team-leading 21 digs and four assists.
Head Coach Katherine Bellaver had this to say after the loss: “It was a great match-point for point most of the way but we did have to climb back too many times, especially in the second set. Rachel Robb’s performance was outstanding, and our defense kept us alive as they have all season. Our middles continued their consistent play, and Sarah Polacek has really had success over the past three matches.”
West Chester Volleyball returned home to Hollinger Field House to host the first of three straight home games, beginning with a 7:00 p.m. Friday night showdown against East Stroudsburg University. The Lady Rams rebounded from their Tuesday loss with a slight upset of the Warriors in four sets (25-19, 23-25, 25-15, 25-23). Besides a lackluster second set hitting percentage-wise, West Chester kept their percentage above .200 twice and even hit .367 in the third set. West Chester also had 15 more assists than East Stroudsburg, while also leading in aces seven to six.
First-year Whitney built upon her last performance, leading the squad in kills with 13 while also recording six blocks. Fourth-year Alex Gleason served up a game-high three aces in this one, while also dishing out one assist. Grammer served up an ace herself, as well as dishing out a game-high 45 assists along with 11 digs. Yates led the team in digs again with a game-high 26, along with six assists. Second-year defensive specialist Megan Shaw played a strong game in support with 11 digs.
West Chester looked to keep their two-game winning streak alive against Kutztown University at noon on Saturday, Nov. 2. This was the first of two matches on the day. Kutztown entered the game with a 3-15 PSAC record, having a miserable season. However, this did not stop them from putting up quite the fight against WCU as they pushed the match to five sets, and ultimately losing yet again (26-28, 25-19, 25-16, 20-25, 15-5). West Chester took a two set lead over the Golden Bears, but had to expel them in the fifth set. WCU recorded hitting percentages of .600 and .688 in this match, displaying what can happen when this team gets on a roll.
Fourth-year middle blocker Allie Duffy led the team in kills with a game-high 17. Whitney got second place in kills with 14, while leading the team in blocks yet again with five. Shaw finished in first place with five aces, another game-high tally. Grammer dished out a whopping 55 assists along with two aces and 15 digs. Yates led the team in digs as per usual with 22. Gleason chipped in with ten digs and Polacek played a nice game with 11 kills. Emily Ahern served up three aces and had two assists in support.
West Chester had little time to rest, as the second game of the day started up at 4:25 p.m. when they took on Virginia State. The VSU Trojans had a long drive home to think about this one, as the Lady Rams thoroughly dominated their opponent with a convincing sweep (25-12, 25-15, 25-12). Starting off the match with a spectacular hitting percentage of .562 helped their cause, and they kept this up by posting percentages of over .400 in the other two sets.
Robb and Duffy tied for the game-high in kills with eight, followed by Grammer with seven. Grammer also finished with the lead in assists with 31 and had seven digs. Robb and Duffy also tied for the game-high in blocks with two apiece. Yates ended her season leading the team in digs with 14, while also racking up six assists. Fourth-year Gleason chipped in with two assists and two aces.
The team ended on a high note, in the midst of a three-game winning streak after being weakened by injuries.
Coach Bellaver had this to say on the season: “This was a great way to close out the 2018 season. We are proud of our 21-10 record, and there were many individual accomplishments this weekend. Jillian Grammer broke the all-time assist record at WCU and is 10th all-time in the PSAC in assists. Nicki Yates extended her lead as the all-time dig leader at WCU, and Allie Duffy is the career leader in hitting percentage at WCU. The six seniors have set the standard for the program. It was unfortunate that we had so many injuries but again, we are proud of the team and proud of our seniors.”
Tyler Grace is a second-year student majoring in economics and finance. TG885739@wcupa.edu