The Rams were in Institute, West Virginia Saturday, Sept. 1, for the MEC-PSAC Challenge to take on Kutztown and Shippensburg. They defeated Kutztown 3-1, but dropped the late game against Shippensburg 1-3.
Overall it has been a solid start to the season with Shepherd jumping out to a 5-2 record with the first loss coming to Saint Anselm College Aug. 26.
In the first game against Kutztown the Rams were able to secure the win in four sets 25-21, 21-25, 25-15, 25-20. The Rams were able to claim a +10 advantage in the kills column, showing their presence around the net to go along with six blocks.
Four of the Rams’ six total blocks came from junior outside hitter Peyton Linblad who had a great showing with 14 kills and an ace. As a team, Shepherd also finished with a 7-3 advantage in aces. Junior outside hitter Cambreia Hill had two of the four aces for the game.
Freshman outside hitter Alex Farnsworth also had a strong performance early in her Shepherd career, posting 13 kills and a block.
Other important stats to note from the opening game: Shepherd registered a .256 hitting percentage compared to .163 from Kutztown as well as finishing with an advantage in assists 54 to 45.
“Kutztown was a rival and beating them meant a lot to us and our coach, so we had some good energy going into our second game against Shippensburg but we fell short,” Hill said.
The late game vs. Shippensburg did not go the Rams’ way unfortunately as they lost in four sets 23-25, 25-23, 19-25, 15-25. It was a completely different game for the Rams as they lost most of the important statistical battles that they had won in the early game against Kutztown. Their hitting percentage fell from .256 to .121 and the assists totals dropped from 54 to 43. Shepherd also ended the game –8 in team kills at 56-48, a flip from game one.
Despite the game two loss, Linblad and Hill continued their early game momentum with Linblad registering 15 kills, one ace, and one block and 15 kills, three aces, and a block from Hill. Freshman middle hitter Georgia Ohmke contributed 10 kills and four blocks and junior libero Imani Major notched a game-high 31 digs in the loss.
Shippensburg improved to 6-2 on the year with the win. Outside hitter Morgan Defloria lead the Raiders with 16 kills and 20 digs.
“Our next game is Tuesday and we hope to start out strong and end strong so we can add another win to our record,” Hill said. The opponent for Tuesday is Virgina State, another road game for the Rams.
Vaughn Brewer is the sports editor for The Picket. He can be reached at email@example.com