The Shippensburg University volleyball team split the second day of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC)/Mountain East Conference (MEC) Crossover, defeating Notre Dame (Ohio) 3-1 to overcome a five-set loss earlier in the day to West Liberty.
Shippensburg (7-5) received strong efforts from a score of players, with junior Emily Gardner leading the way with 27 kills on a team-high hitting percentage of .300 over the course of the two matches. She added 22 digs and four services; her 14 kills against West Liberty matched her highest output of the season.
Junior Maddie Clabaugh had an impressive all-around performance of 23 total kills on a .283 hitting percentage, 19 digs, and a team-leading six blocks. Freshman Gracen Nutt provided another 18 kills and five digs.
Sophomore Kearstin Davis had one of her best performances yet with a season-high 47 assists against West Liberty. With two double-doubles in assists and digs, Davis amassed 76 assists and 33 digs in nine sets played.
Senior Jackie Sterenberg recorded 14 kills and 18 digs, including a double-double in the opening match. Freshman Shay Kolivoski served six total aces on the day with a career high of five against NDC.
West Liberty 3, Shippensburg 2 (17-25, 25-22, 25-19, 23-25, 11-15)
West Liberty outhit SU in the first set with 16 kills to the Raiders’ nine. Although SU once led at 10-7, an 11-3 run put the Hilltoppers back ahead as they took the set, 25-17.
The Raiders came back in the second set with their best frame of the match, posting 14 kills on a .278 hitting percentage. Trailing by two points at 22-20, SU took advantage of three opponent errors and smashed two kills of their own to go on a mini 5-0 run to win the set.
Shippensburg carried momentum into the third set to open an early 8-3 lead. West Liberty pulled the score back within two points at 11-9, but a string of six unanswered points for the Raiders strengthened the lead once again. A kill from Sterenberg created a set point that was secured by an opponent service error.
The Hilltoppers were back on the attack in the fourth set and raced out to a 10-4 lead. The Raiders gradually worked their way back in to the frame to overtake West Liberty at 16-14, but a following string of costly errors allowed the Hilltoppers to send the match into a decider. Another quick start for West Liberty put them up 10-2 in the fifth set. SU rallied back within one point after scoring on seven straight plays, but it was not enough to prevent West Liberty from taking the match, 15-11.
Three Raiders—Gardner, Sterenberg, Clabaugh—recorded double-digit kills, while five different players had double-digit digs. Gardner paced the team offensively with 14 kills, while Kolivoski recorded her third performance of 22 digs this season.
Shippensburg 3, Notre Dame 1 (20-25, 25-12, 25-16, 25-11)
It was a slow start for Shippensburg to open the afternoon match. Eight errors from the Raiders gave Notre Dame the edge it needed to take the first set, 25-20.
SU cleaned up its performance and bounced back significantly in the second set. Hitting 11 kills and committing just one error for their best single-set hitting percentage of the season of .526, the Raiders controlled the pace and used an extended 10-1 run to capture the frame.
The third set contained Shippensburg’s highest kill output of the match with 15. While the Eagles weathered an early deficit to only trail by one point at 13-12, the Raiders outscored them 12-to-4 from that point onwards. Clabaugh led the charge with five kills in the set.
SU was dominant in the fourth, both opening and closing the set with runs of six consecutive points. Freshman Ashley Laukus nailed the final kill to take to set and match. Notre Dame’s 11 points were the least allowed by the Raiders in a set this season.
Gardner led the Raiders in kills again with 13; Clabaugh and Nutt were not far behind with 12 and 11 kills, respectively. Davis had 29 assists and 17 digs to achieve her double-double.
SU returns Tuesday with its home opener against Jefferson at 7 p.m. at Heiges Field House.