Written by Penn State Harrisburg student-worker Seth Goodyear
MIDDLETOWN, Pa. - The current Penn State Harrisburg women's volleyball team took on six former Lions in the inaugural Alumni-Student game on Monday, Oct. 1 in the Capital Union Building. The alumni team that was made up of Finesse Hempfing, class of 2011, Amanda Flynn, class of 2010, Carla Martin, class of 2011, Melissa Reese, class of 2011, Ashley Bowman, class of 2012 and Vera Kanova class of 2007 and were coached by assistant coach Jason Flynn defeated the current players three sets to one.
In the first set, the alumni team stretched its lead to four points twice but both times the Students rallied behind strong serving efforts from freshman Katie Shek (Old Bridge, N.J. / Old Bridge) and senior Michelle Pellechia (Allentown, Pa. / Catasauqua). The set came right down to the end but the alumni captured the set thanks to an ace from current Penn State Harrisburg Assistant Coach Amanda Flynn, winning 26-24.
Once again the alumni team jumped out to a big lead in set two. Finesse Hempfing served seven straight times helping to extend the set lead to 13-6. Not to be out done, teammate Ashley Bowman went on a six point run to put the second set out of reach and clinch it 25-12.
The students answered by roaring out to an early lead in the third set behind senior Miranda Jumper (Lebanon, Pa. / Lebanon) who opened the set with a five-point run. Her run was assisted by freshman Olivia Umoren (Quincy, Mass. / North Quincy) who slammed home two big kills. After sophomore Monica Bishop (Mechanicsburg, Pa. / Mechanicsburg) got a kill to get the serve back, fellow sophomore Erin Goodyear (Boiling Springs, Pa. / Boiling Springs) sparked a four-point run to extend the lead to 10-3. The alumni tried to rally behind solid blocks from Melissa Reese and Vera Kanova but it was not enough. Junior middle hitter Chidere Igwe (West Orange, N.J. / West Orange) closed the set with a powerful kill giving the students a 25-20 win.
The fourth set started slow with Umoren getting an early kill to put the students up 4-3. However, the alumni rallied behind a few key digs from Carla Martin and strong serves by Bowman and Hempfing to push the alumni lead to seven points. Flynn closed the game with a well-placed tip to win the set 25-18 and the match 3-1.
After the match, the teams got together to congratulate one another on a game well played and took a bunch of team pictures. As the fun evening came to an end, it was obvious that a good time was had by all and the current players learned something from the past players.
"It was nice to see the recent grads had all stayed in good shape and stuck together," said Penn State Harrisburg Head Coach Bob Creason postgame. "They played well. I wish some of our girls would have taken the game more seriously but it was a fun atmosphere."