The Golden Bears’ offensive firepower was on display from the get-go, taking a 9-6 lead in the opening set thanks to three consecutive kills from Holly Owen. Continuing to maintain its advantage, the Maroon and Gold were ahead 17-14 in the latter stages of set one following a kill from Brittney Moyer.
A resilient Slippery Rock side tested Kutztown at this point, ripping off five straight tallies to go on top, 19-17, prompting a timeout from head coach John Gump. The break in action proved fruitful for KU as it quickly evened the set at 19-all, setting up a dramatic finish.
With score knotted at 22-all, Kutztown posted three unanswered points, capped by a Moyer kill, to claim
the first set victory, 25-22. As a team, KU hammered 16 kills in the opening frame, hitting at a blistering .350 clip.
Despite the first set defeat, SRU showed no signs of discouragement to begin set two, racing out to a 5-0 advantage. The Golden Bears got this deficit down to two twice in the second set, trailing 10-8 and 13-11, but couldn’t bring themselves any closer as the set progressed. The Rock extended its lead late in the frame, finishing off the second set with a 25-21 win and evening the match at 1-all.
In set three, it was the Maroon and Gold’s turn to get off to a hot start, going ahead 8-3 to force an early Slippery Rock timeout. The timeout did little to change the outcome of this frame, however, as Kutztown continued to increase its lead in the middle parts of the set, ahead 16-8 following back-to-back kills from Moyer and Jessica Howe.
Gaining confidence as the set approached its conclusion, the Golden Bears maintained this margin to the finish line, cruising to a set three victory, 25-15, and taking a 2-1 lead in this back-and-forth tilt.
Set four was extremely competitive throughout with both sides struggling to gain the upper hand early on. The first significant lead was taken by the Rock, however, as it pulled ahead 17-13 in the final frame.
Sparked by an SRU attacking error, KU used three consecutive kills, two from Britney Hewitt and one from Owen, to cut the deficit to one at 18-17, forcing a Rock timeout. Both sides continued to trade points after the break as the score was tied, once again, at 24-all, meaning this one would need extra volleyball to decide it. As was the case throughout the match, Kutztown’s offense delivered when it was needed most, getting back-to-back kills from Hewitt and Owen to take set four, 26-24, and the match three games to one.
The dynamic duo of Moyer and Owen paced the Maroon and Gold offense, racking up 36 combined kills in the match. As a team, KU hit .253 compared to .154 for the Rock and had eight different players with at least one kill. Abbey James and Madisyn Kleinfelter dished out 26 and 25 assists respectively, allowing the offensive attack to function seamlessly for the Golden Bears.
Kutztown’s defensive effort was equally as notable, racking up 80 team digs with three different players recording double-digits in that category. With 29 digs of her own in the match, Sydney Wilson eclipsed the 500-dig mark for the season and now ranks in the top-five on KU’s all-time digs (506) in a season list.
Owen’s eighteen kills were a season-high for the freshman, who looked a natural at the left side attacking position. James’ 26 assists were also a season-high.
With the win, KU improves to 8-19 overall and 3-12 in the PSAC while Slippery Rock falls to 11-16 and 3-12 in PSAC play.
The Maroon and Gold have a midweek matchup on Tuesday night, Nov. 7, as they will face off with East Stroudsburg University at 7 p.m. at Keystone Arena.