The Mercyhurst volleyball team broke even for the two-day period of Sept. 29-30. On Sept. 29, the Lakers started out by beating Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania. Initially, Lock Haven pulled ahead in the first set by breaking a six-all tie and winning with a score of 25-18. However, the Lakers quickly recovered and managed to pull ahead rapidly in the first set of the second game. At the beginning of this set, Lock Haven took the lead with a 6-0 point streak over the Lakers. However, Mercyhurst responded by scoring five points and eventually gaining a 16-13 lead over Lock Haven.
The Lakers went on to win that set with a score of 25-22, evening the score of the match to a 1-1 tie. During the third set, the Lakers began by taking the lead with an 8-0 run. Laker sophomores Tess Ganich and Alyssa Zirnheld had four kills and two aces, respectively. Mercyhurst managed to stay in the lead that set and won with a score of 25 to 21. In the fourth set, the Lakers had a four-point lead. However, Lock Haven caught up and won the set with a score of 25-17, evening the match score to 2-2. The fifth set would see the Lakers take a 6-0 lead and maintain their lead over the course of the set.
Lock Haven attempted to narrow the lead and possibly get ahead, and even managed to narrow the score gap to 13-11. The Lakers responded by scoring two points, with a block by junior Alyssa Kling and a kill by Ganich to win the game with a score of 3-2. From here, the Lakers advanced to 6-8 and Lock Haven fell down to 8-7 for the season. Sophomore Mary Marusza was optimistic. “Each game we’ve been getting better,” said Marusza. “we all fought as hard as we could.” The next day, the Lakers faced off against the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown. Unfortunately, the Lakers would lose this match 1-3.
Coach Ryan Patton, however, was optimistic and commented on how Pitt-Johnstown is a top tier team. “We got them out of sorts,” said Patton. “We did a really good job.” Pitt-Johnstown is now 3-1 in the PSAC, behind only 4-0 Shippensburg in the Central division. Pitt-Johnstown, however, does have a better record compared with the Red Raiders’ 11-5 with a 13-4 spread. The Lakers took the second set with a score of 29-27, but the Mountain Cats took one (25-17), three (25-19) and four 25-22. Zirnheld and Ganich each had 11 kills for the Lakers, while junior Shelby Chesko and Kling had seven more to boot. Zirnheld also had two aces to add and Kling had one of her own as well. After the loss, the Lakers are now 6-9 for the season and 1-3 in the PSAC.
The Lakers will return to the Mercyhurst Athletic Center Oct. 6-7 and will face off against Clarion University and Indiana University. Both of these games are further chances for the Lakers to improve their PSAC standings. Currently, the Lakers sit at third in the PSAC Northwest, only above Slippery Rock in the four-team spread. Slippery Rock has a conference record of 0-4. After this coming weekend, the Lakers will finally meet crosstown rival Gannon University in enemy territory. The Golden Knights currently sit on top of the Northwest at 3-1 and are 13-3 overall, and are tied with IUP and the Red Raiders for the most wins.