MIDDLETOWN, Pa. – The Penn State Harrisburg women's volleyball team finally returned to the friendly confines of the Capital Union Building for the squad's 2012 home opener on Tuesday night, Sep. 11. The Lions put on a show for the hometown fans during their three-set sweep of Trinity, besting the visitors 25-8, 25-11 and 25-9 to pick up their first victory of the season.
The blue and white jumped out to a 7-0 lead to begin the first set and never looked back. Trailing 12-3, the Tigers spent a timeout in hopes of slowing Penn State Harrisburg's momentum.
It didn't work.
The Lions went on a 13-5 run to end round one, winning their first set of the season and clinching the early 1-0 advantage.
Trinity kept things a bit closer to start the second set, but Penn State Harrisburg slowly started to pull away once more. Another Tigers' timeout did little to thwart the Lions tight play. They used another big stretch, this time a 10-4 run, to finish off set two.
The blue and white made it look easy again in the final outing, jumping out to a 6-2 lead, stretching it to 17-7 and using an 8-2 run to seal the deal on the team's first victory of the 2012 campaign.
As she has in just about all of the team's first eight contests, junior Chidere Igwe (West Orange, N.J. / West Orange) led the way offensively with nine kills. Freshman Olivia Umoren (Quincy, Mass. / North Quincy) followed her with seven while senior Michelle Pellechia (Allentown, Pa. / Catasauqua) chipped in with six. Team captains Miranda Jumper (Lebanon, Pa. / Lebanon) and Monica Bishop (Mechanicsburg, Pa. / Mechanicsburg) each finished with four kills apiece.
The Lions three setters did their jobs well as junior Beth Findley (New Providence, Pa. / Solanco) racked up 11 assists while Courtney Dimmig (Elizabethtown, Pa. / Elizabethtown) and Katie Shek (Old Bridge, N.J. / Old Bridge) each notched seven.
On the defensive side of things, it was sophomore Erin Goodyear (Boiling Springs, Pa. / Boiling Springs) who dug out the most balls with six. Umoren recorded three digs while freshman Melissa Ganz (Weston, Fl. / Cypress Bay), Jumper (Lebanon, Pa. / Lebanon), Dimmig and Findley recorded two apiece.
The win was big not only because it happened in front of nearly 100 of the blue and white's faithful supporters, but also because it ended the Lions 13-game losing streak dating back to last season.
The ladies looked strong in executing their game plan as evidenced by only five team attack errors during the course of the match. Penn State Harrisburg Head Coach Bob Creason was pleased postgame.
"I thought our girls played very smoothly," he said following the match. "Most of the points they (Trinity) scored were on our errors."
But Creason knows it's still early in the year and his ladies will have to continue to get better now that the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) portion of the schedule draws near. When asked what he thought of the team's performance during the trouncing of Trinity, his response was simple and level-headed.
Penn State Harrisburg will look to add to its win column when the Lions host Notre Dame of Maryland and Valley Forge Christian this Saturday. The tri-match gets underway at 11 a.m.