Gettysburg Volleyball Falls in Tri-match
By Gabi Eglinton, Contributing Writer
The Gettysburg College Volleyball team suffered two losses Saturday in a tri-match against host Muhlenberg College and Clarkson University.
In the Centennial Conference match-up against the third place Muhlenberg Mules, Gettysburg, ranked fifth in the conference, fell 3-0.
The Lady Bullets began the noontime match with a series of service and attack errors. The Bullets had 18 errors to the Mules’ 8. Gettysburg struggled to overcome the carefully placed hits forced by their opponents’ strong front line.
Gettysburg took the lead in the initial set with an 8-3 run, but the Mules responded with an 8-3 run of their own that would be the first of eight ties in the set. The Mules would go on to lead the second and third sets of the match.
A few key players responded well under pressure. Most notably, first-year hitter Allie Stranick played in the back row and provided 15 digs. Stranick has earned two Centennial Conference Player of the Week titles in her debut season. She ranks second in the conference for kills per set at 3.44 and third for total kills at 265.
Sophomore Kasey Higgins struck down 10 kills, and first year Faith Adams was formidable at the net with two blocks and multiple strategic kills.
Two hours later, Gettysburg attempted to rally for the match against non-conference opponent, Clarkson University, but failed, losing 2-3. The Bullets started off strong, winning the first two sets, but fell by a narrow margin in each of the following three.
Despite the box score, individual players still turned in strong performances.
Senior setter Stephanie Blair provided 48 assists to a series of forceful attacks by the Bullets’ front row, including 17 kills by Stranick. This number was a season high for Blair, and, combined with the 22 from Saturday’s earlier game, helped Blair maintain her position as fifth in the Centennial Conference for assists at 9.04.
Blair recently achieved a career milestone in the sport, earning her 3,000th career dig at the Gettysburg vs. Haverford College matchup. Blair is one of only five Gettysburg Volleyball players to earn this milestone. She is also only one of four players to ever have both 3,000 career digs and 1,000 assists.
Coming from the back, senior Katherine Gilbert added 25 digs to her repertoire. This is her third year starting as libero, and her statistics boast 257 career digs, placing her as the tenth conference leader in the field. She also places fifth in the conference with an average of 4.67 digs per set.
The volleyball team started off their season strong, with 12 wins prior to its first fall to McDaniel College September 20th. Since then, the Bullets have experienced only 3 additional losses — this tri-match and a game against Franklin & Marshall last Wednesday.
The Bullets only have five games left in the season before the Centennial Conference championships begin November 1. With two of the five games being against conference teams, the Bullets will need to remember their goals made at the beginning of the season.
“We need to make sure that we don’t become complacent at any point of the season,” said Head Coach Leah Bernier in a pre-season interview with Gettysburg College Athletics. “Again, with a larger roster, I believe having competition every day will be a big factor in making sure we continue to get better as we get closer to playoffs.”
The volleyball team will work to utilize the vast roster when it faces three teams this weekend. The Bullets play at Messiah College Friday at 6p.m. before facing off against Swarthmore College and Scranton University Saturday at Swarthmore beginning at 12p.m.