Gannon remains unblemished at home

The newly formed Mountain East Conference posed no threat to the rolling Gannon University women’s volleyball team last weekend.

A perfect four wins – 3-0 sweeps each time – kept the early season momentum for coach Matt Darling’s undefeated (7-0) Knights.

“Passing and ball control were the biggest keys to our success throughout the weekend,” Darling said.

“Taryn (Graham) Maggie (Desrosiers) Jordan (Thiery) and Hannah (Kren) were very good in terms of defense and serve receive.”

Lynne Hibbard, a junior middle blocker, completed a successful PSAC-MEC challenge with 11 kills to lead the team against West Virginia State on Friday and a total of 20 kills in Saturday’s two games against Notre Dame College and West Liberty.

“I owe my success to the back row for working hard to get the passes in and to Megan for her awesome setting,” Hibbard said, referring to Megan Wendel, the Knights’ fine senior setter.

“Megan made it easy to find the open shots on the court and from there, it was just a matter of determination and killing the ball to win the point.”

As an all-around player, Hibbard is second on the team with 3.08 kills per set and leads the team in blocks per set.

Wendel, the Knights team captain, is quietly climbing the all-time ranks of Gannon volleyball history but is fully focused on the team and this season.

Darling spent the majority of preseason drilling fundamentals to get his players ready for the season and in particular to prepare them for four-game weekends and conference battles.

“We tried to get as much time on task – ball touches, sets, passes and form – as we could,” Darling said.

“We focus as much as we can on our game.  The best way for us to prepare for the other teams is to make sure that we’re playing as clean a match as possible.”

With a perfect 7-0 start, the Knights hit the road to Cheyney for conference play and another back-to-back weekend in the PSAC West-East Crossover.

Game one against the Cheyney Wolves is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Friday and Gannon will then take on Kutztown at 5 p.m.

The Knights will then head to West Chester Saturday to continue the crossover event.

Hibbard said she’s looking forward to the Knights’ next test.

“We view each match we play as the most important match of our careers,” Hibbard said.

“This weekend has four that we need to focus on one-by-one to bring home the wins.”

 

ADAM BLAZEK

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