The Indiana University of Pennsylvania women’s volleyball team fell in three straight sets to the Juniata College Eagles Tuesday.
The loss to the Eagles comes before the Crimson Hawks start play in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Friday at the PSAC Crossover at Seton Hill University in Greensburg.
“Yesterday was a learning experience for our team,” Elizabeth Sova (junior, math education) said. “We didn’t bring our ‘A’ game.
“Some of us noticed it right away in warm-ups, and it didn’t hit others until the game began.”
Head coach Aline Scott agreed with Sova about the team learning something from the loss to the Eagles.
“You’ve got to give it to Juniata because they never backed down from their aggressiveness,” Scott said. “I think we learned a lot from playing them. We tried to make changes during the game, but they were one step ahead of us.”
IUP lost 25-14, 25-13 and 25-16 to the Division III Eagles, who are a perennial power in Division III.
The Crimson Hawks performance Tuesday yielded nothing that stood out in Scott’s mind. She said there was “nothing impressive about yesterday at all.”
“Unfortunately, it was pretty poor at all levels for our team,” Scott said. “It was good for our kids to see what it is like to play at a high level for the whole game.”
Sova led the Crimson Hawks with six kills on 10 attacks, while Lily McWilliams (freshman, nutrition) posted three blocks.
Despite their three-game winning streak coming to an end, Sova believes the team can take valuable lessons from their loss.
“We learned that we feed off of each other’s energy, and if no one is providing that, we are going to get nowhere,” said Sova. “Also, the game starts the day before, and if we don’t play in practice like we want to play in a game, it’s going to be difficult to get to that high competitive volleyball that we love to play.”
Myerstown native Sova earned PSAC Volleyball Athlete of the Week for her record-breaking weekend.
She became the IUP’s first PSAC Volleyball Athlete of the Week honoree since Jessica Bodkin, who won the award in October 2009.
“It’s obviously a great honor to be named PSAC player of the week,” Sova said. “There is a little pressure with it because I want to continue to play up to the same abilities if not better than the original abilities that got me the title for the week.”
Scott said Sova’s award was also a nice reward for her teammates.
“I think it was a nice reward for the team for their hard work,” Scott said. “She earned it; she worked really hard. I’m excited for her, and I am excited for the team.”
The Crimson Hawks have completed the out-of-conference portion of their schedule and will face rival Shippensburg University in the first game of the PSAC Crossover, which begins Friday, Sept. 27.
In the preseason PSAC coaches’ poll, IUP was chosen to finish in sixth place in the West Division, but Scott said her team is focused and ready.
“This is what we’ve been working towards; it’s a new season,” Scott said. “I hope that we will surprise a lot of people.”
IUP does not have a home game until Oct. 8 when they take on Clarion University at the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex.