BU Volleyball off to rocky start in PSAC play: Bloomsburg aiming for first divisional match victory

Connor McKay, Sports Editor

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The Bloomsburg University women’s volleyball team faced three tough losses against opponents West Chester, Millersville, and Lock Haven. The Huskies are now 4-12 in their inaugural season.

West Chester University was the setting for the epic matchup against the Huskies last Friday night, as the girls faced another pivotal game in their season. The first set of the match was tight until the Golden Rams attained a 14-7 lead. Coming out strong after their timeout, the Huskies attacked with three unanswered points off of West Chester mistakes. The Huskies battled to stay alive, even tightening the score to 17-14. It inevitably proved to be in vain, as West Chester fired back with a decisive 5-1 run and finished out the set on top 18-25.

The next set saw a closer skirmish, as both teams fought tooth and nail for the set’s first 19 points. The Golden Rams maintained the lead and started to gain traction when they were up by five with the score at 14-9. Gomish, Stek, and Giza all got some kills in to trim the lead down by three, but the best the Huskies could manage was to keep it within five with the score at 18-12. West Chester would take another set, the final score at 25-17.

The third and final set proved to be another tough set for the girls. It was a tight match for the first 14 points. West Chester only had a one point lead on the Huskies, but the fire sizzled out as the girls could only manage four more points after Mooney scoring the 13th point.

Notable performances from the Huskies came from redshirt senior Sarah Gomish and freshman Mark Kate Mooney, with each getting 10 kills. Freshman Bryn Stek contributed with a career-high 12 assist along with nine coming in from freshman Emma Van Arsdale. Sophomore Alyssa Cianciulli had 16 defensive digs.

With the defeat at West Chester, Bloomsburg’s overall record dropped to 4-10 on the year. Their divisional record is still in the hunt for a win as they stood 0-3 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC).

The Huskies were on the road again for their next match, as they traveled to Millersville looking for a conference win on Saturday afternoon.

The match’s first match saw the Huskies come out with a fire, scoring a decisive 7-3 forcing the Marauders’ into a timeout. Cianciulli sported two aces combined with the efforts of Gomish, Prior, and Giza. Using the timeout to their advantage, Millersville responded with an 8-2 run, giving them the lead over the Huskies 11-9. The set went back-and-forth, with both teams staying on the board until the Marauders’ only lead by one point 19-18. After a three-point jump on the girls however, Millersville pulled away and stole the opening set 25-19.

Set number two saw another close struggle and a Bloomsburg lead of 7-6 after capitalizing on a Millersville mistake. The Marauders’ responded with six points and continued to control the set until their victory at 25-15.

Bloomsburg then proved they can handle pressure in the match’s third set. Despite an early lead of 7-2, the Huskies had no problem running the score back with six unanswered points to take the lead 8-7.  Gomish and Prior both sported kills while a service ace came from freshman Emma Van Arsdale.
The game stayed tight as Millersville took a 13-12 lead until another barrage of points came from the Huskies, giving them a 18-15 lead. Another ace from Van Arsdale and kill from Prior furthered the advantage 21-15. Freshman Autumn Atland and Gomish sported kills and the final nail in the coffin came from freshman Mia Nicholes. The Huskies took it 25-18.

The match’s final set saw a decisive Millersville victory, with the Marauders’ maintaining control of the lead the entire set. The final score of the set was 25-19.

Gomish boasted her fifth double-double this season with 12 kills and 12 digs in the match. Giza had eight kills and three assisted blocks, a career-high while Mooney had seven kills and 12 digs. Nicholes and Prior both scored six kills and Stek led her team with 25 assists. Cianciulli had an impressive 36 digs for Bloomsburg in the loss.

With their loss, the Huskies overall record dropped to 4-11. The girls then returned home to the Nelson Field House to battle yet another PSAC opponent, Lock Haven. Lock Haven University is where Bloomsburg star Sarah Gomish studied her undergrad and played four years of collegiate volleyball. Head Coach Dan Kreiger was the former head coach of Lock Haven as him and Gomish both came to be a part of Bloomsburg’s inaugural season.

The Huskies took an early lead in the match’s first set, being ahead 9-8. Lock Haven responded fiercely with a nine-point attack leaving the Huskies on the defense until a kill by Mooney finally stopped the Bald Eagles momentum. Taking the lead down to five, the Huskies faced a 18-13 hill with kills from Mooney and Giza. Lock Haven ended the set with a decisive seven point run, the final score of the opening set finishing 25-13.

It looked promising for the Huskies as the second set began, the girls scored four unanswered on the Bald Eagles. Maintaining their lead to a 9-6 advantage, Lock Haven came back with fire as they scored seven of their own unanswered points to set the score at 13-9. The set stayed tight, even getting within one point, but the Huskies could not keep up with the Bald Eagles and lost the set 25-22.

In an odd turn of events, a surge from the heavy storms outside killed the power at the Nelson Field House before the third set began. As the lights turned on, so did the Huskies as they started out the third set with a 10-1 run.  The Bald Eagles fought back, getting the game within five but

Bloomsburg still held the lead as the score reached 22-12. On the 7-2 run to take the ten point lead, kills came from Nicholes and Gomish and Giza.

Despite a slight five point comeback from Lock Haven, Gomish ended the game with yet another kill; the final score of the third set was 24-18 in favor of Bloomsburg.

Taking an early lead again, the Huskies started the fourth set with a two-point lead at 6-4. A vengeful Lock Haven scored a commanding eight point run to give them an advantage of six. Giving their best efforts, the Huskies could not catch the flying Bald Eagles and the match concluded with a fourth set score of 25-17 giving the Bald Eagles the 3-1 victory.

The Huskies are now 4-12 (0-7 PSAC) in their inaugural season. Bloomsburg’s next challenge will be on Friday night against Kutztown and on Saturday against East Stroudsburg. The matches are set at the home floor of the Nelson Field House and the time for both matches is set at 7:00 p.m.