Rock volleyball closes 2021 season

Published by Madison Williams, Date: November 17, 2021
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The 2021 women’s volleyball season concluded its season with their final two losses in Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) matches. Slippery Rock was edged by Gannon University and Edinboro University of Pennsylvania to wrap up their final road trips. Overall, the team finished 5-25 (1-15).

Cacey Cook, Lauren Weber, Tiara Teague and Lauren Crytzer wore their Slippery Rock volleyball jerseys for the final time, as they will be graduating and ending their collegiate volleyball careers. Both Gannon and Edinboro are headed to PSAC playoff contention.

The Rock held its ground and kept up with its opponents, but still struggled to finish with a win. This season, The Rock struggled on their home court as well as on the road. Their lone win this season was away at Mercyhurst University, who also did not make it to the PSAC tournament poll.

In their first contest with Gannon, Slippery Rock was able to salvage double points each set. While Slippery Rock had the dominant hand in blocks, the Golden Knights led in kills and aces. Against Gannon, Alayna Chizmar played an impressive game tallying one ace, six digs and three blocks to her statistics this season.

Both Slippery Rock and Gannon allowed for 15 errors, but Gannon led in nearly every other category including hitting percentage (.273-.048), assists and aces. The Rock only led in one category, having four aces while The Golden Knights had three.

Going into the match versus Edinboro, Slippery Rock knew they were not included in the PSAC playoff bracket and were just there to play. The players eased into the game in hopes of a final game win. Offensively, Chelsie Wheeler led with eight kills and three blocks to give The Rock momentum. Alongside her was Lauren Crytzer and Stephanie O’Donnell who blocked the Fighting Scots attack attempts.

Rounding out the scoreboard was senior middle hitter Teague, who added an additional two kills for Slippery Rock. They tried to climb their way out of the hole, but the gap was too large to overcome. Again, the only team statistic Slippery Rock attained a tie for was six blocks, the same as Edinboro. Otherwise, the Fighting Scots guided a clear path to victory with more aces, kills and points.

As for the returning offense, Chizmar and Erica Selfridge produced an impressive combined nine kills. The pair will return next season along with their teammates Peytan Gullickson and Taylor Fellers. Next year, they will be the ones playing for their final time at the Morrow Field house as Seniors.

In her 38 year at Slippery Rock, Coach Laurie Lokash said earlier this season that the most important part of this season was learning to play as a team, not making wins the overall goal. Lokash along with Assistant Coach Erin Street, focused this season around applying skills from practice into games.

They’re currently in the process of easing in the new players after skipping a recruiting classes introductory year of collegiate play due to COVID-19. The last season The Rock volleyball team had more wins than losses was 2017.

The 2021 fall season will not go down as a winning season in the career records, but as a learning lesson for 2022.

Madison is a junior communication major with a concentration in converged journalism and a minor in sport management. She is an active member of WSRU-TV and is the sports editor of The Rocket. Upon graduation, Madison plans to work in the broadcasting industry and coach volleyball.

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