The Gannon University women’s volleyball team continued to dominate earlier this month, as Gannon and Edinboro hosted University of Charleston, West Virginia State, West Liberty University, and Notre Dame College. In a round-robin tournament, Gannon, who entered the tournament 3-0, won all four of their games, improving their record to 7-0 on the season.
On Sept. 12, Gannon beat West Virginia State, winning all three of their sets 25-16. They then proceeded to top Charleston with scores of 25-13, 25-23 and 25-12. On Sept. 14, Gannon defeated Notre Dame with scores of 25-11, 25-14 and 25-17. They then wrapped the tournament by beating West Liberty University, winning three sets with scores of 25-15, 25-18 and 25-21.
In the seven games that they had played so far, Gannon only lost two sets total: one against Wayne State and one against Adelphi in the Clarion Invitational at the beginning of the month.
Morgan Walters, a junior sport management and marketing major, said the team is taking it one game at a time, especially as the season ramps up.
“Our motivation for this weekend is that right now we’re 0-0 in PSAC,” Walters said. “We’re trying to push to keep an undefeated record, but more importantly, to stay undefeated in PSAC.”
Head Coach Matt Darling, Ph.D., echoed her sentiments.
“Every opponent is good and can beat you if you’re not playing well,” Darling said, “so we treat each match as its own opportunity to play and, hopefully, win. If the wins keep adding up, we’ll embrace the winning streak as motivation to keep improving so we can continue working for our real goals, which have more to do with late-season success than what we’re doing right now.”
Walters added that every game is a thrill to the team, whether at home or on the road.
“I definitely think there’s an advantage to being at home, but there’s also an advantage to being away,” Walters said. “It’s awesome to have your own fans there cheering you on, but it’s also motivating when you travel seven hours to a gym full of fans that are rooting against you. That fires you up just as much as your own fans do.”
Coach Darling said he agreed.
“We’ve always played well at home, and the supportive crowds at the Hammermill Center definitely help,” he said. “But the really great teams we’ve had also thrived on the road. And, since we play a bunch of road games this year, we’re actively working on being great in less-than-friendly environments, too.”
Depth is no problem for the girls. Adding four freshmen this year, the team grew their roster to 16 players, which equates to 10 substitutes and a great opportunity to keep players fresh and switch out often.
Darling said that this team has probably the deepest talent of any he’s ever coached.
“We’re three weeks into the season, and I don’t have a set line-up,” Darling said. “We have so many combinations that can win, and that’s a great advantage.”
The team plays Slippery Rock University on Friday and Edinboro on Saturday, both at home. For more information, visit gannonsports.com.