Gannon builds from early success

The Gannon Knights women’s volleyball team had another successful weekend at the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference east/west crossover tournament, which was held at the Hammermill Center.

With the wins from the weekend, the Knights have now pushed their record to 4-0 for the PSAC standards.

The Knights started the weekend off right with a win against the Cheyney Wolves. Gannon dominated the first set.

The Wolves managed to keep up until Gannon got the lead at 9-8 and with 16 consecutive points finished out the first set with a final score of 25-8.

The second set started out similarly with the Knights and the Wolves in a 4-4 tie. However, the Knights bounced back with a 9-3 run pushing the score to 13-7.

Once a steady lead was gained, Gannon snatched the final six points at the service line, ending with a final score of 25-12.

The last set of the match was a closed case when Gannon went on a 10-point run followed by another 12-point run with a final score of 25-5.

Freshman Hannah Kren had 11 kills during this first match.  Other standout players in this match were junior Megan Wendel, with 35 assists, and sophomore Kayla Knickerbocker, with seven kills, six coming from aces.

“We are definitely pushing each other harder in practice because no team is going to let us win easily this year,” Knickerbocker said in a post-weekend interview.

Once the Knights had their first win of the tournament under their belts, they were ready to move on to the next opponent, the West Chester Rams. The first match was pretty cut and dry with the lead bouncing back and forth. Gannon pulled out on top at the end of the first set with a final score of 25-19.

In the second match, the score was tied 12 different times and five lead changes. With the score tied at 25-25, the Rams managed to sneak in a win with a final score of 27-25.

However, this did not discourage the Knights.

In the third set of the match, Gannon came on the court with a 10-2 run and held a steady lead throughout the set, ending with a final score of 25-11. The fourth set was a bit more of a nail biter, with Gannon finally taking the lead at 20-19. The Knights ended up victorious with a final score of 25-21.

Once again Kren had a standout performance with 12 kills. Junior Emily Carver and sophomore Lynne Hibbard both had 11 kills, freshman Jordyn Thiery had 10 kills and junior Megan Wendel had 37 assists and 10 digs.

“Being a part of such a hardworking and talented team, I am very excited to have a chance to fight for a conference championship,” Kren said.

On the second day of the tournament – the Knights arrived ready to rack up some more wins. Their first match of the day was against East Stroudsburg Warriors.

In the first set of this match, the Knights came onto the court and started out with a 11-1 lead, when Thiery went back to the service line and managed to keep Gannon in the lead until the final score of 25-11.

The second match followed suit with Gannon starting with a 10-2 lead, then quickly regained control of the ball and pushed it up to 18-15 lead for Gannon. The Knights were able to hold that control until the end of the set, resulting in a 25-15 score.

The third set of this match started with an 18-9 lead. The Knights kept working until the scoreboard finally read 25-14.

The match point was earned when Wendel set up a perfect kill for Kren. In this match, Kren had eight kills and digs, along with five block assists, Hibbard got eight blocks and six kills and Wendel had 25 assists, one solo-block, seven digs and four kills.

The last match Gannon participated in was against the Kutztown Golden Bears. The first set of the match began with Gannon holding a 17-9 lead, and match point was received when Carver got the only solo-block of the match resulting in a score of 25-14.

The second set of the match saw a tied score at 12-12 when Gannon went on a 7-1 run and finally ended the set at the score 25-18.

The last set of the evening started with the Knights having a 10-2 lead, which they managed to maintain until the game point, which resulted in the final score of 25-12.

Wendel saw a match-high 39 assists, Kren had a double/double with 10 kills and 12 digs, Thiery saw 11 kills and nine digs and Carver had eight kills, one solo-block and 13 block assists.

Coach Matt Darling has been prepared the Knights for the challenges they will face this season.

“We always appreciate the incredible support we get for our home matches, and I hope that students are starting to get excited about this year’s team,” Darling said.  “We’re playing some good volleyball right now, and we’d love to have some big crowds for our upcoming home matches.”

The Knights will take the court again at 7 p.m. Friday against the Fighting Scots in the Edinboro Gymnasium.

KRISTEN MARINI

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