By John Reed
ESU women’s volleyball (6-16, 2-12) had a tough stretch of games this past Friday and Saturday against a bevy of PSAC opponents.
Coming off of a three-set sweep of Cheyney, the Warriors entered the weekend with confidence, but it ended with them dropping each crossover match.
Senior setter/outside hitter, Annabelle Charlton, paced the Warriors with 52 assists and 28 digs, and freshman outside hitter Desiree Claxton chipped in 39 kills and 36 digs. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to overcome some of the top ranked teams in the PSAC West — Clarion, California, and Seton Hill.
IUP (9-11, 5-8) offered the best opportunity for a victory, but ESU fell short against the West’s lowest seed.
Clarion (L 3-0)
Against the top team in the PSAC, ESU dropped three consecutive sets. The Warriors didn’t threaten the Golden Eagles but remained competitive.
Freshman Desiree Claxton led all ESU players with ten kills, and senior Annabelle Charlton paced the defense with seven digs and 13 assists.
Clarion was led by Taylor Braunagel and Abbey Cox with 12 kills on 21 attempts and eight kills on 11 attempts for a combined hit percentage of .625 — better than any player for ESU.
Senior setter Laura Subject paced the Golden Eagles with 34 assists to lead all players. Clarion’s record now sits at 20-2 with a sparkling 12-1 mark in the PSAC.
Seton Hill (L 3-0)
There is no rest for the weary as the Warriors follow their battle against the best team in the PSAC with a tilt against the second ranked team in the Griffins. Going against another formidable opponent, ESU fell in three straight sets while trying to remain competitive with set scores of 25-16, 25-18, and 25-16.
Junior libero Maddie Hutchison paced ESU with 18 digs to lead all players.
Setters Annabelle Charlton and Erica Cunningham did their best to defend the middle by posting 13 and 10 assists each.
Seton Hill was led by a pair of outside hitters in Corrine Gahagen and Cassie Hausfeld who each notched eight kills. The Griffins’ Courtney Field put together a great overall game with a .600 hit percentage, 21 assists, and nine digs.
IUP (L 3-1)
Indiana University of Pennsylvania offered the Warriors their best shot at recording a win over the weekend. The first set started off on the right foot as ESU put together a 25-20 victory.
The Warriors offense seemed to really come alive for the first time all day. Freshman Desiree Claxton had another strong game with 15 kills and 18 digs. Senior outside hitter Abby Welch found a rhythm against the Crimson Hawks with 10 kills — her highest output of the weekend.
Despite the strong start, the Warriors slowly began to fade in each successive set as they dropped the next three to open up their Saturday with a loss.
IUP was led by senior middle hitter Elizabeth Sova, who racked up 13 kills and got a piece of seven blocks.
Junior middle blocker Meghan Schneider chipped in with 11 kills and four digs. Sophomore setter Lindsay Moeller posted 45 assists — seven more than the Warriors’ team total.
California (L 3-0)
After getting a break with a match up against IUP, the Warriors were in for a tough matchup against California, who are tied for second in the PSAC West. The wear and tear of the weekend seemed to catch up to ESU as they got doubled up in the first set to a score of 25-12.
The Warriors lost the next two sets to drop the match in three consecutive sets, but the sets became more competitive moving forward.
The offense scored by getting a team effort from across the board as no one player stood out. Desiree Claxton led the team with seven kills, but it took her 42 attempts and eight errors to accrue that total.
Annabelle Charlton put together a solid performance across the board with five kills, ten assists, and nine digs. Redshirt junior libero Haley Mork led all players with 18 digs.
The Vulcans were led by Laurel Miller who outpaced all other players with 13 kills, and she chipped in 13 digs. Sophomore setter Megan Litoborski out-assisted the ESU team with 26 total assists.
ESU hosts West Chester for Think Pink Day on October 16. It opens a seven-game stretch for the Warriors that includes five matches against PSAC East opponents.
The Warriors have an opportunity to finish their season strong with five home games remaining in their last nine.
Email John at: