Knights fall to Clarion

In a five-set, Senior Day matchup that saw two Goliaths battling back and forth, the Gannon University women’s volleyball team dropped only its third game of the season Saturday, falling to Clarion in a struggle for the first seed in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Tournament.

The Golden Eagles (27-3, 18-2) took down the Knights (24-3, 17-3) for the second time this season and handed Gannon its first home loss of the year, 25-20, 24-26, 25-18, 28-30, 15-10, at the Hammermill Center.

Gannon’s Core Four finished their career in the Hammermill Center with an astounding 51-6 record.

With so much experience at a high level, the best setter in the conference – Megan Wendel – still never faced a game like Senior Day.

“The pressure us seniors felt was unbelievable, and it showed from the stats of the first set,” Wendel said of the 25-20 opening-set loss.

“We all had our share of errors but our teammates held us up and played hard, which took a lot of the pressure away as the match went on.”

But against a team like Clarion, the best in the PSAC and ranked No. 2 in the Atlantic Region, a slow start can be lethal.

Despite career highs from sophomore outside hitter Hannah Kren and Wendel, the Knights fell just short. Wendel dished out an amazing 70 assists while Kren hammered home a career-high 27 of those setups.

As the PSAC’s leading outside hitter, Kren continued her stellar sophomore year and collected her 18th double-double this year with 17 digs to accompany her 27 kills versus Clarion.

Gannon, ranked No. 3 in the region, heads on the road this weekend to finish the regular season against California (Pa.) and Seton Hill.  Friday’s match is set for 7 p.m. and the regular-season conclusion tips at 1 p.m. in Greensburg.

As the postseason looms around the corner, the Core Four are prepared, now more than ever, to take care of business.

“I think we are ready to win some big games,” Wendel said.  “We have lost some big games this year and we’re sick of it, so we’re going to put all that we have into these last few matches.

“I believe that the urgency that our team – especially the seniors – is feeling right now will lead us to success.”

Conference tournament play is scheduled to start Nov. 11, with the tourney final four set for Nov. 15-16. The NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional Tournament will begin Nov. 20.


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