BY JUSTUS STURTEVANT, SPORTS EDITOR
The Susquehanna volleyball team won all four matches it played this week, dropping just one set. The latest win, which came on Oct. 22 against Penn College in the team’s senior game, pushed the Crusaders’ win streak to 12 consecutive matches.
The team opened up the week with a three-set sweep of conference foe Scranton. The Crusaders came into the match a game behind the Royals in the conference standings, but the win, along with a 3-0 win over USMMA, secured the second spot in the conference entering the playoffs.
Head Coach Jon Kuuipo Tom acknowledged the magnitude of the win for his team, saying: “There are so many advantages to playing at home. We’re tough to beat at home.”
Following the conference wins, Susquehanna took consecutive matches against non-conference opponents Penn State-Altoona and Penn College on Oct. 22 and Oct. 23, respectively.
Saturday’s win over Scranton was monumental for Susquehanna, as it gave the Crusaders home court advantage in their semifinal rematch with the Royals. The team is 6-1 at home this year.
The Crusaders opened the match with a 25-18 win in the first set. They followed that up with a 25-22 victory in the next set to take control of the match. Despite a tough fight from the Royals, the Crusaders put away the match in the third set, 26-24.
Susquehanna was the better team all the way, posting a hitting percentage of .286 compared to Scranton’s mark of just .114.
Junior outside hitter Morgan Whiteman recorded 14 kills in the match, while sophomore setter Erin Byrne finished with 13 kills of her own. Sophomore setter Maggie O’Hearn notched a match-high 34 assists.
The Crusaders locked up the second seed in the conference that they had earned in the Scranton match by sweeping USMMA in their final conference match of the regular season.
Susquehanna made quick work of the Mariners, beating them 25-15, 25-18, 25-19 in less than an hour.
The Crusaders dropped their first set in eight matches on Tuesday to host Penn State-Altoona.
They responded by pounding the Nittany Lions 25-9 in the second set. They rode the momentum through the final two sets, taking them 25-13 and 25-23, respectively.
The team’s most recent win, a 3-0 victory over Penn College, came on a night in which the Crusaders honored their three senior team members, middle hitter Hayley Dunkel, defensive specialist Amanda Miles and outside hitter Jessica Holm.
Susquehanna dispatched the Wildcats 25-12, 25-20, 25-15, with Holm leading the way with 10 kills.
The Crusaders have six matches left in the regular season, all of which are against non-conference teams. Tom sees these games, several of which come against tough opponents, as important to the Crusaders’ regional standing.