Three Rock graduating seniors were able to close out their collegiate careers on senior night with a win, defeating Indiana University of Pennsylvania 3-0 in three consecutive sets.
Rock seniors Michelle Hren, Janna Reilley and Kristy Lake led the Rock to the victory, with Lake earning a double-double and a match-high 15 digs. Reilley was able to contribute a match-high of 20 kills and Hren applied seven kills with a .313 attack percentage.
“This was a really good group of seniors,” SRU head coach Laurie Lokash said. “After eliminating my assistant coaching position, I had to rely on them a lot for leadership throughout the year. I had to talk to them about different player decisions that a coach wouldn’t normally talk to a player about, but they were a rational group who had the best interest of team in their mind.”
The Crimson Hawks began the match strong, bouncing out to an early 10-7 first set lead over the Green and White. The Rock was able to find their composure and a scored six straight points to put SRU on top 13-10. Slippery Rock was able to hold on to their lead, winning the first set 25-19.
The second set was very back and forth, forcing 10 set ties and nine different lead changes. IUP was able to push for a late 24-22 set lead, but the Rock was able to respond by scoring four straight points to win the set 26-24.
The Green and White carried the momentum to the third set, cruising to a 25-14 set victory to close out the 3-0 match victory.
The final set was highlighted by freshman Morgan Wrona, who was able to serve seven consecutive points for the Rock which put them in a commanding 16-6 lead in the third set.
Sophomore Leah Jones was able to contribute off the bench, adding 10 kills, a .391 attacking percentage and 10 digs. Freshman Emily Sokolowski had eight kills in the match, while freshman Kristen C. Smith was able to help out on defense with 10 digs. Sophomore Jaden Zimmer added five kills to the Rock’s offensive game, and was able to be a factor on defense with a match-high of five blocks.
Lokash was very pleased with the performance of her underclassmen this season, and is even more excited about next season. The Rock has already received two verbal commitments from recruits, but due to NCAA rulings Lokash cannot release their names until the paper work is finalized.
“Last season’s seniors were six kids who still came to Slippery Rock to play volleyball, even though our scholarship money was cut,” Lokash said. “But when you can bring in a new wave of players who you can sign with scholarships, it makes for a world of difference in your program.”
Lokash recognizes that even though she won’t be losing many players due to graduation over the next few years, the program also needs to add new faces that can help the team win in the future.
Slippery Rock held the advantage in kills 46-24, and digs at 59-46. Each team had a total of six blocks.
The Rock finishes their season with an overall record of 17-14, and a PSAC record of 10-12.