Women’s volleyball sweeps opening tournament

The 13th-ranked Gannon University women’s volleyball team remains unbeaten after sweeping Cedarville and Concord on Friday and Ursuline and Ohio Dominican on Saturday during the Tony Banner Invitational at Clarion University.

With the four-game sweep, the Knights improved to 7-0 overall, their best record since 2016. Ally Smith was also named Co-MVP of the tournament with 47 kills, 33 digs and four aces in the four matches.

Gannon coach Matt Darling liked what he saw of his team at the Clarion tournament. “I think we all feel pretty good about our play this weekend,” he said. “We continue to make incremental improvements.

“We were much better on offense today, and we saw continuity with every lineup we used.”

Cedarville proved to be the Knights’ toughest competition as Gannon came away with narrow victories of 25-21, 25-22 and 25-19.

Smith, a junior, continued her stellar start to the 2018 season, landing 13 kills and seven digs. The assault came from several Knights as Aubree Lanman, Lauren Sampson and Johanna Gregory each had six kills.

Trailing in the second set, the Knights took their first lead at 16-15. They went on to score six of the final seven points for a 25-22 victory. Finding itself in a similar situation in the third set, Gannon rallied to a 13-9 lead after trailing 5-3.

The Knights made easy work of Concord in Friday’s later match, winning each set by double digits. In the final two sets the Knights hit above .300 while collecting 41 assists on 41 kills.

Smith reached her career high of 10 kills and freshman Ashley McClung had six kills with six blocks and four aces. The Knights achieved set scores of 25-14, 25-13 and 25-12.

Gannon rolled to a 25-14 win in the first set and never trailed during the three sets. Concord hit .071 and -.091 respectively, in the second and third sets, allowing the Knights to easily notch a sweep.

The Knights hit a season high .424 (48 kills on 99 attempts) to fuel their three-set win over Ursuline. It’s their highest hitting percentage since taking on Edinboro on Nov. 12, 2016. Sampson added 11 kills, and McClung and Ashley Kerestes each collected five kills.

Using a four-point burst in the first set, the Knights took a quick 11-8 lead that sent them to a 25-18 win. Scoring runs of four and five points allowed the Knights to glide into 25-17 and 25-14 wins in the second and third sets, respectively.

Ashley Beyers fueled the Knights’ final victory over Ohio Dominican with 40 of the team’s 44 assists in the match.

In the first set the Knights battled through seven ties and two lead changes to take a 25-20 win. From then on Gannon began to take control, allowing only five ties and three lead changes. Sophomore Laura Bebinger smacked the final kill in the third set to hand Gannon the win.

Gannon will continue its early season road swing Thursday against UVA in the Concord Classic at West Virginia Tech, in Beckley, W. Va. Match times are slotted for 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The Knights will then take on King University and Kentucky State University Friday, with matches starting at 10 a.m. and noon in Concord, W. Va.


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