Gannon volleyball on eight-game hot streak


he Gannon University women’s volleyball team will look to extend its winning streak to nine matches when it travels to Edinboro to take on the Fighting Scots Friday in a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference matchup.
The Knights haven’t lost in nearly a month, as their most recent setback came against Shippensburg on Sept. 22, and they are 5-0 in October with five games left to go.
October started strong with a good win against the Indiana University of Pennsylvania in five sets, followed the next day by a dominating victory over the Golden Eagles of Clarion, 3-1. The Knights followed that with a 3-2 decision over crosstown rival Mercyhurst.
Over the weekend, the Knights traveled to Greensburg to face the Griffins of Seton Hill, where they won in five sets, 25-19, 23-25, 25-22, 23-25, 15-9.
Gannon kept its win streak alive with a straight-sets victory Saturday against the California University of Pennsylvania, 25-15, 25-23, 25-19, its first victory at CalU since October of 2012. The win — the Knights’ eighth in a row — improved their record to 18-3 overall and 8-1 in PSAC play going into Friday’s 7 p.m. match against Edinboro at McComb Fieldhouse.
On Friday, Gannon and Seton Hill went back and forth for the first 10 points of set one before the Knights scored four straight, led by a Kelsey Ansec kill.
With the help of a Maggie Wilhelm service ace and kill, the Knights took control, 17-11, before taking the set 25-19.
After Seton Hill took the second set, Ansec began set three with a kill and Gannon took an early lead before a 5-1 Seton Hill run gave the Griffins a 5-4 edge. The set went back-and-fourth until Gannon started to create some separation to take a 19-16 lead on the way to a 25-22 win.
Seton Hill answered by taking the fourth set, which featured seven ties in the early going, but the decisive fifth set went the way of the Knights as three Ashley Kerestes kills down the stretch sealed the match, 15-9.
Toni Leitshuh led the Knights with a double-double. Carolyn Knollman issued 47 assists, and Sara Crandall had a team-high 23 digs.
The next day, Gannon found its stride and won the match with ease in straight sets.
An 11-4 first set run allowed the Knights to take a 17-10 lead. Ansec and Leitshuh recorded two kills each during the run and California (Pa.) wasn’t able to get closer than five points the rest of the way. Gannon clinched the first set with a 6-1 run, five of those from Vulcan errors, resulting in a 25-15 victory.
Like the first set, an 8-3 run midway through gave the Knights an 11-6 advantage. CalU slowly chipped away and pulled within one point on five different occasions before tying the set at 22. Two Cal errors at the end of the set clinched a Gannon win in set two.
The beginning of the third and final set saw Gannon take an early 6-3 lead before Ansec and Leitshuh kills jumped Gannon’s lead to 12-6. An 11-3 run pushed the Knights’ lead to 20-9 and even a 10-6 Vulcans’ run wasn’t enough as Gannon took the third-set win and the overall match with a 25-19 decision.
Ansec led the Gannon offensive attack with 12 kills on 38 attempts, with Leitshuh adding a double-double with 11 kills and a team-high 16 digs.
In the see-saw win over rival Mercyhurst on Oct. 10, the Knights trailed two sets to one before winning the fourth set, 25-15, and taking the fifth, 15-8.
Rebekah Smith led the way with 11 kills while Leitshuh had 10 and Wilhelm contributed eight.
Wilhelm also had a team-high seven blocks while Smith and Kerestes each added six. Knollman contributed 22 assists and Crandall collected 22 digs.
Following Friday’s game at Edinboro, Gannon will continue its five-match road swing with a 2 p.m. battle at Slippery Rock on Saturday.

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