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The Indiana University of Pennsylvania women’s volleyball team captured two victories at the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex Friday and Saturday.
The Crimson Hawks defeated Edinboro University and Slippery Rock University to improve their record to 10-17 overall, and 6-9 in Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference play.
Moreover, the two victories during the weekend were their third and fourth consecutive victories, the longest winning streak of the season for the Crimson Hawks squad.
Head coach Aline Scott said her team got the job done during the weekend.
“I think we’ve played as a team over the past few games,” Scott said. “The talent was there, and it showed.”
Against visiting Edinboro, the Crimson Hawks were led by Stephanie Kruzynski (sophomore, nursing).
The Oxford native recorded a career-high 13 kills to help the team defeat the Fighting Scots three sets to one.
Her 13 kills came on 25 total attacks and a lone error. She finished with 13.5 points on the night, which led the team.
Kruzynski’s performance Friday night, Scott said, was a step in the right direction for her.
“Steph has been coming along,” Scott said. “She’s been working very hard to improve the technical side of things. There is room for improvement, but she had a good weekend.”
Kruzynski said going into the weekend, she knew the team would need to play hard through the end.
“There is always room for improvement,” Kruzynski said. “Overall, I am happy with the connection established with our setter and teammates.”
The first three contests were tight. IUP came out victorious in the first two sets, but the Fighting Scots captured the win in the third set.
Edinboro was on top early in the opening set as the Fighting Scots took a 9-7 lead before IUP went on a 6-0 run, which included two kills from Kruzynski.
IUP took a 17-12 lead, but Edinboro fought back by scoring eight of the next 12 points, cutting IUP’s lead to one point (21-20). The Crimson Hawks quickly responded by scoring three of the next four points to seal the opening set victory.
The second set was another tight contest.
IUP and Edinboro were tied 6-6 at one point, but the Crimson Hawks built a 17-10 lead. The Fighting Scots mounted a comeback with a 9-4 run, which led to an IUP timeout with the score 24-19 in favor of the Crimson Hawks.
Edinboro would score another point before Elizabeth Sova (junior, math education) finished the set off with a block. IUP would fall in the third set 26-24 in another close contest, but would win the fourth set 25-13 to defeat the Fighting Scots.
“Edinboro is a great team and I am proud of my team,” Scott said. “ They got the job done and kept their form and kept on fighting.”
Saturday afternoon, the Crimson Hawks squared off against rival Slippery Rock. IUP defeated The Rock 25-21, 25-14 and 25-13.
“Slippery Rock is a defensive team,” Scott said. “They kept the ball going and rallied for everything; they may not have a lot of offense, but they have a great defense.”
Libero Kelly Barnes (senior, marketing) had 27 digs with zero errors. Those 27 digs were a season-high for Barnes.
The opening set was close, with both teams exchanging points.
Slippery Rock led 18-16 before IUP came back to take a 20-18 lead and eventually rack up four of the final five points to secure the victory. From there, IUP rolled to two more victories, but The Rock did make it hard on the Crimson Hawks defensively.
At the beginning of the season, IUP lost seven straight games and prior to PSAC play, the team earned a 3-8 record. Over the month of October, IUP has been stringing together wins.
Kruzynski said there are differences between the team that started 3-8 and the current team.
“In the beginning of the season, we were struggling to get into our groove and put the ball away,” Kruzynski said. “The team now is very cohesive and strong. We have a purpose and goals that we are going to meet, and that drive is helping us and will help us succeed.”
The team will wait until Friday, Nov.1, to face rival California University of Pennsylvania. The Vulcans are undefeated in conference play with a record of 15-0 and 22-4 overall.
“Cal has a strong team with a great outside hitters,” Scott said. “We’ve found ourselves over this past weekend, and hopefully we can come out on the right side of the scoreboard.”
Kruzynski said the team’s momentum will carry throughout the week and into the weekend.
The Crimson Hawks will face Seton Hill University Saturday, Nov. 2.