Knights split against rivals

Entering the past weekend the Gannon University volleyball team had a record of 8-2 in the PSAC Pennsylvania State Atlantic Conference Western Division. Gannon is ranked second in the Western Division falling just behind the undefeated Clarion University with a 9-0 record.

Friday at the Hammermill Center, Gannon prepared for a match against rival Edinboro University. From a strong week of practice and mental preparation, the Knights defeated the Fighting Scots. The match consisted of straight-set wins with scores of 25-15, 25-16 and 25-22.

Again out-hitting its opponents, Gannon came away that game with a 41-22 edge in kills. The Knights left the floor with a dominating nine aces.

The win came after a loss to Mercyhurst Oct. 9.

Coach Matt Darling said he was pleased with the win.

“This was a much needed win for us after Tuesday night’s loss,” he said. “We all feel good to be back on the winning track.”

Opening the match with a 19-3 run — one of the Knights’ longest runs of the year — things quickly started to turn in favor of Gannon.

However, Edinboro regained some momentum as Gannon was trapped in a rotation for 10 points allowing Edinboro to cut the score to only a 6-point lead.

Gannon regained its stride with a 4-0 run that all began with a resounding kill from freshman hitter Kayla Knickerbocker.

Senior Lauren Sazama led Gannon with her usual kills the entire match, but every player on the court for Gannon contributed in a different way. Freshman Jenny Olson shocked the coaching staff and several fans who attended when she turned in a career-high performance.

Totaling seven kills on 15 touches, five digs and an ace led coach Darling to say he was glad with his decision to play the freshman.

“Jenny played great tonight.” he said. “Really gave us a great spark off the bench.”

Darling also said the team’s defensive effort and passing had improved from the loss to the Lakers.

Gannon used talented middles senior Sarah Glancy and freshman Lynne Hibbard to take on the Scots. Sophomore Megan Wendel contributed 31 assists and six digs, one kill and two aces helping the Knights flow perfectly together.

“Megan set a great match,” Darling said.

Improving to an overall record of 17-4 and a PSAC record of 9-2, Gannon returns to action Friday.

Traveling to Clarion University, the Knights will take on the No. 1 ranked team in the Western Division for a tough battle at 7 p.m. Both teams are closely matched in skill and have the high intensity that is needed to win. With Clarion the top team in the West, the game leaves the Knights with little room for error if they hope to overtake the Golden Eagles.



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