Volleyball keeps momentum at Urbana tourney


Isaac Newton’s First Law of Motion states that “an object in motion tends to stay in motion unless an external force acts upon it.”
The Gannon University women’s volleyball team exemplified that law during its weekend trip to Urbana, Ohio. The Knights let nothing get in their way at the Urbana Volleyball Invitational, rolling to a 3-0 record by sweeping nine straight sets and improving their overall record to 10-2.
Gannon opened by making quick work of the host Blue Knights Friday night before slamming the door in similar fashion Saturday evening, sweeping both Roberts Wesleyan and Lindenwood University.
In Friday’s first match, Gannon prevailed over Urbana by scores of 25-16, 25-19 and 25-21.
In set one, Gannon jumped out to an early 4-1 advantage before Urbana went on a run of its own to tie the match at 10-10.
Knights’ coach Matt Darling called a timeout to regroup, and Gannon came out firing, collecting three straight points, including a Maggie Wilhelm kill. As they’ve done so often, the Knights stretched a 15-13 to 22-13 after the timeout before going on to take the set, 25-16.
In set two, Gannon took the advantage early off a Carolyn Knollman kill to push to a 10-6 lead. The Knights then mustered up a 10-2 run that included kills from Rebekah Smith, Ally Smith, Kelsey Ansec and Wilhelm.
Urbana tried to mount a late comeback, but the lead was too much as Gannon took the second set, 25-19.
Like the first two, the Knights once again jumped to an early 10-4 lead. Kills by Ally Smith and Ansec drove the lead to 15-6 before Urbana pulled within one at 20-19. The Blue Knights would never tie the score as Gannon closed out the set, 25-21.
Ally Smith led the Knights with 13 kills while Ansec issued 11 kills of her own. Knollman led the team in assists with 32 and Sara Crandall added 16 digs.
The next day featured the same dominance, leaving the Redhawks of Roberts Wesleyan searching for their first win another day, winning in straight sets 25-8, 25-19 and 25-22.
The eight points Gannon held Roberts Wesleyan to in the first set was the second-fewest by an opponent in a set this season – one more than a seven-point set from Glenville State. The Knights would follow with set victories of 25-19 and 25-22.
Toni Leitshuh led the team with 11 kills and 24 digs, a career high and her third double-double of the season. Sara Crandall issued 21 digs of her own while Ashley Beyers led the way in assists with 28 and five service aces.
In game two of the day, Gannon took control early with a 25-20 first-set victory before matching the second set 25-20 and closing out the match, 25-23.
Ansec led the way with 13 kills while Ally Smith recorded her second double-double with 10 kills and 39 digs, a career high. Crandall chipped in 21 digs for the Knights and Rebekah Smith had an eight-kill performance.
Next up, Gannon will begin the first of 11 straight PSAC games with road matches against Shippensburg and Millersville Friday and Saturday. Gannon will take on the Raiders at 7 p.m. and the Marauders at 1 p.m.

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