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After a successful weekend at the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference East-West Crossover, the Indiana University of Pennsylvania women’s volleyball team continued their winning ways, picking up their fourth win in five games.
IUP defeated the visiting Shepherd University Rams in three straight sets Tuesday night at the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex.
With the win, the team improved its overall record to 8-17 and its PSAC conference record to 5-9.
It was also the team’s first home victory of the 2013-14 season.
Head coach Aline Scott said her team’s first home victory was “fantastic.”
“It is always good to win in front of the home crowd,” Scott said. “It just sets up the momentum for the weekend. That’s what I am hoping for.”
The Rams were coming into Tuesday’s contest with a 10-9 overall season record and 2-1 in their last three games.
In the first set IUP controlled most of the play early on and managed to come out with a 9-4 lead.
Shepherd forced a comeback, going on an 8-3 run before IUP scored six straight points.
The Rams went on another run and eventually tied with the Crimson Hawks 25-25.
Ericka Lentz (redshirt junior, athletic training) scored a kill, and Elizabeth Sova (junior, math education) won the set for the Crimson Hawks with an ace.
Shepherd raced out of the gates in the second set and took a 7-3 lead over the Crimson Hawks.
IUP came back by scoring five of the next seven points and made it a 9-8 game. The two teams exchanged runs and IUP took a 23-15 lead.
The ever-persistent Rams made things uncomfortable for the team and closed the gap to 24-22.
With the momentum in Shepherd’s half of the court, Meghan Schneider (sophomore, psychology) scored a kill to win the second set for IUP.
The Rams forced IUP to be on their toes for the entire match, but the Crimson Hawks defense, Scott said, had a good effort.
“Defensively, we did well,” Scott said. “We had a very specific plan, and they followed it for the most part. I actually thought our defense was better than our offense today.”
IUP took control of the third set early, coming out with a 12-6 lead.
Shepherd scratched and clawed back into the contest with a 9-4 run, cutting the IUP lead to 16-15.
The Rams committed errors and IUP capitalized. Those errors helped put the Crimson Hawks on top 23-19.
Lentz secured IUP’s first home victory with back-to-back kills.
The Reading native led the Crimson Hawks with 15 kills.
Lentz has been a consistent player for the team since returning to the lineup after knee injuries.
Management of her injury, Lentz said, is the key for her to be successful.
“It hurts, but you do treatment, rehab and all I can for it,” Lentz said. “It’s games like these where the adrenaline takes over, and you don’t feel it.”
The Crimson Hawks have won four of their last five games.
“It was good to get the win,” Scott said. “I didn’t feel we were able to maintain our level. We had eight- and nine-point leads, but they were able to cut it close to two or three points.
“At least we came out on the upside. We are learning how to win so tonight was a good step.”
Sova was second on the team in kills with seven and increased her kill total to 239.
The Myerstown native said she was impressed with the team.
“I think we played really well,” Sova said. “We have some things to work still, but the team came out and played their best today.”
With the victory, IUP now holds a 13-2 all-time series lead over Shepherd, which included a 3-0 road win last season.
The next time IUP will take the court will be Friday, Oct. 25, when the team takes on PSAC West Division rival Edinboro University at 7 p.m. in the KCAC.
Following that, the Crimson Hawks will host Slippery Rock University and Califronia University of Pennsylvania and Seton Hill University at the KCAC over the next week.