Storm Split Season Opener at Gannon-Mercyhurst Invitational

Samantha Knepley
Samantha Knepley

ERIE, Pa.-- Lake Erie College women's volleyball team (1-1) kicked off its 2012 season splitting a doubleheader against West Virginia State University  and Gannon University in the Gannon-Mercyhurst Invitational at Gannon's Hammermill Center in Erie, Pa.  The Storm would win an exicting, come from behind match against West Virginia State, 3-2, before falling to host Gannon 3-0.

The Storm got out to a fast start against West Virginia State (0-7), taking a 4-1 lead off three service aces from junior Molly Richardson (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Dwenger). Lake Erie would extend its lead to 10-6 before the Yellow Jackets would tie it up at 11. West Virginia State would score 14 of the next 21 points to take the first set 25-18. The Yellow Jackets carried the momentum into the second game, jumping out to a 3-0 start. The Storm failed to mount a comeback, dropping game two 25-20.

Lake Erie fired back in game three. Tied at four, the Storm went on a 6-0 run to take a 10-4 advantage. Solid play all-around led the Storm to a decisive 25-12 win in game three. Now down two sets to one, the Storm jumped out to a 8-1 lead in game four and went on for a  25-16 win.

The early portion of the decisive game five was even through the first 16 points. Tied at 8, the Storm went on a 5-1 run to take a 13-9 lead. The Yellow Jackets responded with their own 5-1 run, to tie the game at 14. The Storm got a big kill by junior Jamie Hoppe (Green Springs, Ohio/ Clyde) to retake the lead and then sealed the game - and the match- on the next point after a block from Hoppe and sophomore transfer Sara Aultz (Wooster, Ohio/Orrville/Edinboro).

Aultz led the Storm with 19 kills. Senior Paige Baldauf (Marion, Ohio/Mount Pleasant) and classmate Rachel Ritt (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) each recorded 17 digs apiece. Junior Andrea Harris (Beavercreek, Ohio/ Beavercreek) led Lake Erie with four service aces and sophomore setter Samantha Knepley (Munith, Mich./Stockbridge) tallied 46 assists.

The Storm competed against host Gannon University in their second match of the day. The two teams were even early in game one, fighting to a 9-9 tie. The Lady Knights then ran off a 16-6 run to win game one. Gannon (4-1) would carry the momentum the rest of the match, winning the next two sets 25-14 to take the victory.

Knepley led the Storm with 16 assists in the loss. Aultz recorded six kills, while Baldauf made eight digs.

The Storm return to action at the Gannon-Mercyhurst Invitational Saturday, Sept. 8th, against Holy Family University at 1:05 p.m. and then play  co-host Mercyhurst University at 3:35 p.m. Both matches are scheduled to take place at the Mercyhurst Athletic Center in Erie, Pa.

-LEC-