Raider Oyinda Agbale led SU’s volleyball team with a .300 but the effort was not enough to pull off a win Friday night against regional rival Shepherd University.
The Raiders came up short in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Eastern Division opener, dropping a four-set match to the Rams at the Butcher Athletic Center. Set scores were 23-25, 18-25, 25-21 and 13-25.
How it happened
Shippensburg (5-8, 0-1 PSAC East) got a strong effort from junior Agbale (Pittsburgh, Pa./Shaler Area), who slammed a team-high 14 kills and hit an efficient .300 from the floor over 30 attempts. Junior Rachel Verhoef (Greencastle, Pa./Greencastle-Antrim) had eight kills and four blocks, while freshman Emily Gardner (Avon, Ohio/Avon) contributed seven kills.
Freshman setter Lily Letchworth (Blue Springs, Mo./Blue Springs) totaled 36 assists and had 17 digs. She also snuck in three kills. Redshirt-sophomore libero Alex Leitner (Castle Pines, Col./Rock Canyon (Niagara) led the Raiders with 19 digs and had three assists.
Shepherd (12-1, 1-0) was excellent at the net, totaling an impressive 18 blocks. The Rams also served seven aces and hit .186 as a team while holding Shippensburg to a season-low .060 hitting percentage.
The first set featured a Shippensburg rally, as the Raiders trailed 22-17 but got within 24-23 before the Rams crunched a kill for the first set point. In the second set, the score was within one point at 17-16 before a net violation call gave the momentum to the hosts. Shepherd’s resulting 5-0 run was enough to propel the hosts to a 2-0 lead.
The third set featured a pair of big runs at the start, with Shippensburg taking a 6-0 lead before Shepherd responded with eight straight points. Trailing 9-7 in the third, the Raiders scored five of the next six points to take a 12-10 lead. With the score tied at 17-17, Shippensburg used a 6-1 run to build a lead that would last through the end of the set.
Shippensburg returns to action at 4 p.m. Saturday with a non-conference home match against IUP at Heiges Field House.