Crimson Hawks split against conference opponents

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The Crimson Hawks finished their Oct. 9 and 10 matches with a 1-1 record and, like their previous weekend, bounced back in their last match after a slow start.

In the first match at Seton Hill University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania struggled to muster any momentum in a 3-0 loss.

The Crimson Hawks combined for 39 errors in the attack and serve reception categories, which negated any type of offensive rhythm.

Head coach Scott Pennewill said that losing the serve-serve receive battle led to inconsistent hitting, which plagued the team throughout the match.

Natalie Cignetti (sophomore, natural sciences) was the top scorer in the losing match with seven kills.

Although IUP didn’t earn a victory against Seton Hill, its match did play host to the first-ever collegiate meeting between Lindsay Moeller (junior, early childhood and special education) and her sister Hannah.

“I was very excited to play against her for the first time since we have only ever been on the same side of the net,” Moeller said. “I wish we had a better showing, but I look forward to our next matchup.”

In its Oct. 10 match against California University of Pennsylvania, IUP bounced back after a first-game loss to win the match 3-1.

The Crimson Hawks were led by Alexis Anderson (sophomore, marketing), Gabrielle Egler (sophomore, psychology), Lily McWilliams (junior, nutrition and dietetics) and Cignetti, all of whom amassed 10 kills.

“Serve receive is about anticipation, good vision, getting as much information before the ball is contacted, as well as after the ball is contacted,” Pennewill said.

“Again, there is a focus and concentration that passers need to have to be successful.”

Pennewill said he uses the term “FITTS” to help the team in the serve-serve receive area.

“Find the server and identify where they’re lining up to,” he said.

“Toss, tempo and torque to read how much they’re putting into the ball, and then finally spin. That’s what ‘FITTS’ is. If you do a good job at determining those little things, your serve receive usually goes pretty well.”

And with good service came IUP’s rebound against Cal U – something that Pennewill says is a testament to the Crimson Hawks’ entire season.

“There have been several of these types of displays where we don’t necessarily play our best, and then manage to come back with a stronger and more focused effort.”

The Crimson Hawks’ next match consists of opponents from the PSAC East in another PSAC East/ West Crossover.

They play in Johnstown on Friday against the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and Millersville University.

“We have to do a good job serving to their areas of weakness and getting them out of system,” Pennewill said.

“UPJ won’t make an unforced or needless error and they will keep the ball in play out of system. When in play, they will get the kill. The Mountain Cats have hitters with nice, fast arm swings and can put the ball down pretty well.”

Pennewill said the game plan will revolve around taking care of the ball, serving tough and siding out well.

“That’s the definition of momentum. We always talk about keeping ‘Mo’ on our side, as if ‘Mo’ is another player. You do that by serving strong and siding out. That is the serve-serve receive game. That’s a goal of ours every match. When we haven’t been successful, we’ve lost the serve-serve receive battle. When we are successful, we win the serve-serve receive battle.”

“The Mountain Cats aren’t going to make a lot of errors, and we’re going to have to earn our points.”

They’ll play Saturday at Lock Haven University against the Bald Eagles and Shippensburg University.