By Ronald Hanaki
ESU’s women’s volleyball team finished its regular season with a competitive three-set match against the Shippensburg University Raiders at Koehler Fieldhouse last Saturday afternoon.
The Warriors gave the Raiders all they could handle in losing 27-25 twice in the first two sets before bowing out 25-13 in the third and decisive set.
Last Saturday was also Senior Day. Senior libero Maddie Hutchison and senior middle blocker Megan Braunagel were honored on the court before the start of the match.
ESU came out inspired. The Warriors battled to a 23-20 lead when Shippensburg called timeout.
Following the timeout, the Raiders won the next four points giving them match point on their serve at 24-23, but ESU freshman outside hitter Madison McCunney spiked the ball to win the next point and knotted the game at 24-24.
The two teams would exchange the next two points. ESU freshman Tina Predojevic’s serve at 25-25 led to a rally, but a Shippensburg player tipped the ball just out of reach of ESU sophomore libero Lydia Redman to give the Raiders another match point, which they converted to give Ship the first set.
The second set was just as competitive as the first set, but it ended on a sour note for ESU.
The Warriors battled the Raiders to a 25-25 tie, but ESU lost the next point to give Shippensburg another match point on Ship’s serve.
Ship sophomore outside hitter Maria Peluso’s serve led to a rally that seemed to end with ESU sophomore outside hitter Desiree Claxton’s put away.
The Raiders tried to return the ball over the net, but the ball bounced out of bounds.
While it looked like ESU won the point to tie the score 26-26, one of the officials somehow ruled the point in favor of Shippensburg giving the Raiders a two-set lead over the Warriors.
ESU would trail Shippensburg 12-14 in the third set, but the Raiders closed with an 11-1 run to win the set 25-13 and the match.
With Shippensburg leading the Warriors 22-12, Coach Allison Keeley put Megan Braunagel in the game for the final time. Braunagel’s last appearance on the court was widely appreciated by the Koehler Krazies, and Braunagel acknowledged her fans with a smile.
In the match, the Warriors were led by the stalwart Hutchison, who had 25 digs. Her career total of 2,105 career digs ranks her second in ESU history.
Hutchison finished the season third in the PSAC with 5.98 digs per set.
Claxton notched eleven kills and eight assists.
Other notables for ESU were sophomore setter Erica Cunningham who had 21 assists and Predojevic, who had 15 assists and 12 digs.
Shippensburg junior setter Maura Nolan tallied 38 assists and was named PSAC Eastern Division Volleyball Athlete of the Week on Monday.
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