PREVIEW: Volleyball heads to Mercyhurst

Huskies now 5-7 overall in 2019 season; still yet to play at home

Connor McKay, Sports Editor

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Hot off a two-game win streak, the Bloomsburg University women’s volleyball team looks on to their next match against the Mercyhurst University Lakers. The Huskies are in for quite the challenge, as the Lakers are also rolling off a two-game win streak and are showing no sign of giving up easily. This is an especially pertinent match because it is between two Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) teams, and both are eager to rise in the conference standings.
The Huskies now boast a 5-7 overall record after overcoming both Virginia Union University and West Virginia Wesleyan College. It was a strong win against Virginia Union, as the Huskies overcame their opponent in just three sets of 25-11, 25-20, and 25-22. Their victory against West Virginia was a little more contested, but the Huskies bested them in three sets as well putting up sets of 25-23, 26-24, and 25-21.
Sitting at an overall record of 5-7, the Huskies have ironically found more success on the road than at home. The Huskies are 2-2 on the road and sit on a 3-5 record for a neutral plane. Friday Oct. 4 will be the Huskies first real test of home field advantage, as it is their first home game of the season matching up against Clarion University at the Nelson Field House.
The Huskies will be looking to the defensive strength of junior Alyssa Cianciulli for her skill at the position of Defensive Specialist. Cianciulli has been playing phenomenally this season, having recently earned herself a second PSAC Women’s Volleyball Defensive Athlete of the Week award in a mere three weeks of playing.
Cianciulli is currently leading the PSAC in digs per set with an average of 6.91, her only competition in the entirety of Division II is Nelly Diaz from Concordia with an average of 7.25. If she continues to play at the level she is playing, it will not be long before Cianciulli is leading all of Division II. Cianciulli is also leading the country in total digs with a whopping total digs at 319.
In her past four matches alone, she threw up 101 total digs averaging 7.7 per set. She also hit 16 assists, a kill, and three aces along with her defensive dominance. Her achievements do not end there, as she now sits at double figures in digs in the 40 matches of the young program’s history. The junior is now a mere 34 digs away from hitting 1,000 total for her time as a Husky.
Mercyhurst University’s Lakers have some impressive stats as well. Along with the Huskies, the Lakers have not played a PSAC either and it will be both teams’ chance to prove themselves and gain an early foothold in the conference. Their intimidating 8-3 overall record has proven the Lakers are prepared to play this season.
Finding success on the road as well, the Lakers sit at a 3-2 away record and 5-1 neutral record. Interestingly, both the Lakers and the Huskies fell to some of the same opponents. Mercyhurst suffered a defeat to Fairmont State University much like the Huskies did a few weeks ago. While Bloomsburg may not have been able to overcome Notre Dame College, the Lakers managed to pull it off. These teams each share a victory over West Virginia Wesleyan College though, the Lakers defeated them earlier in the season while the Huskies just defeated them this past weekend.
The Huskies should keep an eye on the Lakers’ senior Mary Marusza, who was critical in their wins against West Virginia Wesleyan, West Virginia State, University of Charleston, and Urbana University. Marusza having been previously named one of their athletes of the week, sported three aces, 46 digs and 146 assists during the three matches and is a clear weapon for the Lakers.
All eyes will certainly be on both Cianciulli and Marusza as they will be looking to lead their teams to victory for their teams’ first PSAC match this season. The battle between the Huskies and the Lakers is set for this Thursday, Sept. 26 at 7:05 p.m. in the Mercyhurst Athletic Center.