On Tuesday, The Slippery Rock University Volleyball team welcomed the Edinboro Fighting Scots onto their court in a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) showdown. Looking to break a three-game skid, the Green and White looked as focused as they have been all season long.
It was clear from the start of the first set that SRU was firing on all cylinders, as the home team held control of the match for a majority of the night. Rock volleyball showed stout defense, and the ability to strike on offense at any given moment as The Rock would roll to a dominant 3-0 victory over Edinboro, improving their record to 5-10 overall and 2-5 in PSAC play.
In the first set, SRU and Edinboro began the night by trading points back and forth, as the two teams stalemated for nine points each. Edinboro would then begin a small run, scoring the next four points of the set, opening a four-point advantage over The Rock. After taking a timeout to adjust and refocus, it would prove to pay off generously, as Slippery Rock would go on a massive 12-1 run, breaking the match wide open with a score of 21-14. The Green and White kept the momentum going in front of the home crowd and would eventually close out the set by a score of 25-17.
The second set of the match would start off in a similar way, as both teams were tied 8-8, before Edinboro went on another mini-run to give themselves a 12-9 lead. Slippery Rock would battle back to tie the match at 14, before each team took turns exchanging the lead, leading to another tie at the 20-point mark. Although the Green and White have struggled as of late with winning close sets lately, the problem seemed to be non-existent as The Rock would go on a 5-3 run, effectively ending the set by a score of 25-23, giving SRU a 2-0 set lead.
Early in the third set, Rock volleyball kept the foot on the gas by roaring out to a 6-1 lead. However, Edinboro had plans to spoil SRU’s shutout hopes by battling back, eventually holding a minuscule lead over Slippery Rock late in the third set, 17-15. The women in the Green and White stayed calm and collected as they methodically erased the Fighting Scots’ lead and never looked back as they went on an 8-4 run to close out the third and final set to secure the set with a score of 25-19, clinching their first shutout victory of the 2018 campaign.
After recording her 629th victory on Tuesday night, head coach Laurie Lokash moved into 21st place for number of wins as a coach in Division II women’s volleyball history. Despite a major milestone in Coach Lokash’s career, she remained humble about the accomplishment. “I have been around a long time and I have had the pleasure of having some great players come through this program,” Lokash said. “It has nothing to do with me, trust me.”
Many players had an integral role in the victory against Edinboro, as senior Beth Stumpf displayed offensive and defensive talent, recording a team-leading 12 kills and 11 digs on the night, her 6th double-double of the season. Sophomore Defensive Specialist Jalyn Willard also recorded 11 digs on the night as well as serving up an ace. Juniors Kaley Fucci and Zoe Rivet also had proficient performances on Tuesday night as Fucci recorded six kills, two aces and three blocks, with Rivet once again racking up a match-best 28 assists.
Along with great performances from these players, Coach Lokash mentioned what other factors played into The Rock’s success on Tuesday night. “We kept everything pretty intense in the practice before tonight’s game and the kids really responded well, so I believe some of that intensity may have trickled into tonight’s matchup,” Lokash said. “We have had some rollercoaster performances this season, and we saw proof of that in the game against Seton Hill, the girls were stunned that we played so poorly, and I think they did not want that same result to ever happen again.”
Despite facing adversity this season, it was clear that this was Slippery Rock’s game to lose and the team responded extremely well, earning a crucial victory. Coach Lokash and her rejuvenated team will now turn their attention to a struggling team in IUP, who comes into town Friday night at 7 p.m.