SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. - In the first weekend of the 2019 season, the Walsh Cavaliers volleyball team faced two teams from Pennsylvania on Saturday (Sept. 7) at the Shippensburg Raider Classic.
The Cavaliers swept Slippery Rock 3-0 (25-13, 25-13, 25-15) in the first game of the day before falling to the host Shippensburg 3-2 (22-25, 21-25, 27-25, 25-22, 13-15) in the final match of the weekend.
The first set saw both teams exchange the lead as they tied five times in the first 16 points. Hallie Schroeder capped a span of three straight Cavalier points with a kill as Walsh led 11-8. The Rock closed the lead to one before Walsh closed out the set with a 13-2 rally. Lauren Loucks had four kills while Alexis Gilland added two kills along with three service aces for Walsh. The Cavaliers took set one 25-13.
Slippery Rock sped out to a 5-1 lead in the second set until Walsh closed the gap and gained the 6-5 lead. The set was tied at six but the Cavaliers led by as many as 12 as the Cavs went out on a 19-7 spurt. Loucks added six kills on the run as Walsh closed out the middle set 25-13.
No one led by more than one in the first six points as the teams went back and forth. Loucks ended a 4-0 run with a kill as Walsh pushed the lead to 7-3. The lead expanded to five but the Rock closed the gap to one with four straight points. Natalie Brutscher had two aces (of four total for the match) on a run of five straight Walsh points. The lead grew to seven before the Rock pulled within five at 18-13. Justine Coffman started a 7-2 run with a kill and Gillland ended it with a kill and a sweep. Walsh won the final set 25-15 and the match 3-0.
Loucks led all players with 17 kills in the match. Schroeder (nine kills, 18 digs) and Gilland (eight kills, ten digs) both fell just short of a double-double. Sam Wentz had 15 digs and three aces.
Walsh started the match on a 3-0 run before the Raiders took back the lead with four straight points. The set remained close with Shippensburg taking an 8-7 lead after the third tie of the set. Three straight points gave the Cavaliers a 10-8 lead. Walsh led by three on a Schroeder kill, but the lead was shortlived. Shippensburg tied the match for the fifth and sixth time prior to a 19-18 lead. Three straight points put Walsh ahead 21-19. The Raiders ended the set with a 6-1 run, taking a 1-0 lead in a 25-22 win.
Schroeder and Loucks helped Walsh take a 3-1 lead in set two. The Raiders shortly took a 4-3 lead until Walsh led 8-6 moments later. A combined block by Coffman and Olivia Kearns and a Loucks kill pushed the Cavaliers ahead by two. A 6-1 Raiders run saw the Cavaliers trail 12-9. Amber King had a solo and combined block as Walsh tied the set at 12. Shippensburg gained a six point lead and Walsh could not fully overcome the deficit, falling 25-21 in the second set.
The Raiders came out fast with an 8-3 lead but the Cavaliers pushed back to tie the set at 13 with two aces, and a pair of kills from Loucks and Schroeder. The set was tied three times before the Raiders took a 21-18 lead. Two Loucks kills led to a kill and block from Amber King tied the set again at 22. Three more ties and Gilland closed out the set with a kill. Walsh got back in the match with a 27-25 set three win.
Set four was just as competitive as the teams saw three lead changes and two ties in the first nine points. Walsh scored eight of the next 13 points, tying the set at 12. Three straight Raiders points were short-lived as a block by King and Gilland tied the set at 16. A Kearns ace put the Cavaliers up 17-16 and they later led by two. The set was tied at 21 as the Cavaliers fought off the defeat. Schroeder had an ace and a kill as the Cavaliers won the fourth set 25-22.
The fifth and final set had four ties in the first eight points. Back-to-back kills by Gilland and Loucks pushed the advantage to 6-4 before five straight Raider points. Three straight by the Cavs tied the set for the sixth time at nine points. Shippensburg took a two point lead but the Cavaliers staved off match point twice. Shippensburg won a five set thriller 3-2 with a 15-13 fifth set.
Loucks finished with 20 kills in the match as she led the Cavaliers. Schroeder had a massive double-double with 17 kills and a match-high 28 digs. Gilland also had a double-double with ten kills and 23 digs. Kearns totaled 17 digs, 51 assists and three service aces. King came up big with seven solo blocks and assisted on two other blocks.
Walsh will travel to Florida to play in the Flagler Saints Classic on Friday (Sept. 13) and Saturday (Sept. 14).