MIDDLETOWN, Pa. – The Penn State Harrisburg women's volleyball team tipped off its 2012 campaign by taking part in Gettysburg College's Battlefield Classic. Unfortunately for the blue and white, the ladies dropped both of their contests on day one. Facing some strong competition in Cedar Crest and Rutgers Camden, the Lions fell 3-0 in both matches.
In the first match of the afternoon, Penn State Harrisburg dropped its first two sets to Cedar Crest 25-15 and 25-14. But the Lions refused to go down quietly and pushed the Falcons to the absolute limit in the third and final game before succumbing by the slimmest of margins at 26-24.
Junior Chidere Igwe (West Orange N.J. / West Orange) led the way offensively with eight digs while freshman Olivia Umoren (Quincy, Mass. / North Quincy) followed closely behind with seven. Senior Michelle Pellechia (Allentown, Pa. / Catasauqua) chipped in with five digs of her own.
Freshman Melissa Ganz (Weston Fl. / Cypress Bay) was strong defensively with 11 digs. Sophomore Erin Goodyear (Boiling Springs, Pa. / Boiling Springs) stepped up her defense as well, recording nine digs while sophomore newcomer Monica Bishop (Mechanicsburg, Pa. / Mechanicsburg) dug out seven of her own. Junior Beth Findley (New Providence, Pa. / Solanco), the team's setter, racked up 18 assists.
The second contest of the evening was a bit tougher for Penn State Harrisburg as Rutgers Camden completed the sweep 25-12, 25-16 and 25-10. Igwe again led the ladies in kills with five but the blue and white could only muster eight total against the Scarlet Raptors. That inability to get the offense going proved costly.
For the second straight outing, Ganz was the team leader in digs with four while senior captain Miranda Jumper (Lebanon, Pa. / Lebanon), sophomore Jess Sinex (Oxford, Pa. / Oxford) and Umoren pitched in with two apiece. Findley only managed four assists the second time around. Freshman setter Katie Shek added three of her own.
Opening night didn't go the way the Lions would have hoped but they'll have an opportunity to bounce back tomorrow afternoon. On day two of the Battlefield Classic, Penn State Harrisburg takes on Adrian and Washington Colleges in back-to-back matches. The first outing gets underway at 12 p.m.