Pirates defeat Saint Francis, fall to Akron

The Seton Hall women’s volleyball team went 1-2 over the weekend at the Akron Invitational, falling to Eastern Kentucky and Akron but defeating Saint Francis.

The first set of the first game between Seton Hall and Eastern Kentucky went down to the wire with the match having 13 overall ties along and nine lead changes for the whole set. The Pirates were able to lead the first part of the match and had a comfortable 18-13 lead on Eastern Kentucky. The Colonels would close the gap and would outscore the Pirates 8-5 to make it a 23-21 game in favor for the Pirates.

The Pirates had the upper hand, but Eastern Kentucky came with three straight points to take a 24-23 lead in favor for them this time. The two teams would then tie for a total of 10 times, until the Pirates would have two attack errors at 33-33 that would lose them set one.

Photo via SHU Athletics

The Pirates tired coming out strong in set two with an early 3-1 lead. Unfortunately, Eastern Kentucky responded right back with a 12-3 run, putting them up 13-6 which the Pirates could not come back from. 

In set three, it would be the same as set one and two. The Pirates would not even take a single lead in the final set played as Eastern Kentucky went on a 11-1 run after a 4-4 tie. Eastern Kentucky would take set three with a mounting 25-11 victory and sweep the Pirates overall on the day.

Looking into team highs, Haylee Gasser led the team with six kills and had six digs. Freshman Raygan Murray had a team high 14 digs for Seton Hall along with Gasser. The Pirates as a team were outscored offensively with only 24 kills compared to Eastern Kentucky’s 44 kills. The Pirates also had 53 digs while Eastern Kentucky tallied 68 overall.

Gasser and Julia Wilkins led the Pirates with 12 kills apiece in match one against Saint Francis. Wilkins also added a career high seven digs. A noticeable change for the Pirates was the insertion of Maggie Cvelbar into the lineup at setter instead of Grace Rosenberg. Cvelbar nearly surpassed Rosenberg’s assists totals from last week by recording 34 against St. Francis and chipping in with eight digs and four service aces. Eden Dolezal led the team in digs with 10.

The Pirates found themselves in an early hole, as Saint Francis began the match with a 5-2 lead. Seton Hall quickly responded with a 15-3 run that put the Pirates up 17-8. This 15-3 run included a 10-0 Pirates spurt that saw two kills apiece recorded by Cvelbar and Madison Salkowski. The Pirates never looked back in set one, taking it 25-17.

Set two was dominated by the Pirates, who closed the set on a 13-3 run and back-to-back kills from Gasser. In set three Seton Hall raced out to an 11-4 lead and never let Saint Francis get closer than five points, winning the set 25-15.  

Unfortunately, the Pirates dominance of match one did not carry over into match two against host Akron. Gasser led the Pirates in match two with 13 kills and Wilkins and Dolezal tied for the team lead digs with 10. Wilkins added 10 kills to finish with a double-double.

The Pirates remained competitive against Akron despite the straight-set loss. Seton Hall led or was tied with Akron for a majority of the first set before letting the Zips go on a 7-1 set ending run to win 25-18.

Set two saw the Pirates lead 7-3 early as Wilkins registered three kills but the Zips gradually took control and won the set 25-20. Set three followed almost the same script as the first two with the Pirates leading for the first half of the set before Akron settled in and finished off the match by winning 25-22.

The Pirates return to action Sept. 20 against William and Mary at the George Mason Invitational in Fairfax, Virginia.

Ryan Beltran can be reached at Ryan.Beltran@student.shu.edu or on Twitter @RyanB591011. Matthew Collins can be reached at matthew.collins@student.shu.edu or on Twitter @Matt98533108.

Author: Robert Fallo

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