Kutztown (8-20, 3-13 PSAC) didn’t help itself with errors through the first two sets, but proved down the stretch that it was every-bit as good as the 16-win Warriors, the second-place team in the PSAC Southeast Division.
While it continues to learn about the fight its team has, Kutztown had two individual milestones to celebrate Tuesday night.
Junior Brittney Moyer recorded her 1,000th career kill with a 20-kill performance. After getting off to a slow start, Moyer surged late with a 14/3 kill-error ratio in the final three sets. Moyer came to Kutztown
last season after posted 299 kills at Lock Haven as a freshman in 2015. She led KU offensively last year with 398 kills, as she polished off the 1,000th for her career late in the fourth set.
For her Golden Bear career, she sits at 703 through 57 matches.
Sydney Wilson was sharp defensively, once again. She broke her own freshman record for digs in a match with 36 on the night – eighth-most all-time. With the effort, Wilson broke Kutztown’s single-season freshman record for digs in a season with 542 and counting. She broke Nicole Biuso’s previous record of 520 from 2004. Wilson also passed KU Hall of Famer Missy Klein for third-most digs in a season at KU.
Hitting percentages tell the story of how Kutztown worked its way back into the match. Kutztown improved its hitting percentage every set (minus shortened final set), working from a negative mark in the opener and capping at .353 in the fourth. Defensively, Kutztown limited East Stroudsburg to decreased hitting percentages through the first four sets, including a negative mark in the fourth.
Three Golden Bears posted double-digit kills for the first time since Sept. 16 vs. Caldwell. Led by Moyer’s 20, freshman Holly Owen, the reigning PSAC Southeast Athlete of the Week, was strong with 11 kills. Jessica Howe tallied 10 kills on 29 swings.
Setting up the leading trio was Abbey James and Madisyn Kleinfelter, who dished out 26 and 25 assists, respectively.
The backline had five players finish with double-digit digs. Wilson’s 36 was the feature, while James posted a double-double with 15, Alli Henderson had 13, Moyer posted 12 and Kleinfelter had 11 for an additional pair of double-doubles.
After falling behind 2-0, Kutztown had to force extra points to keep its hopes alive. KU trailed 20-15 in the third, but received a balanced attack down the stretch to post a 7-2 run to tie the set at 22 apiece. KU forced back-to-back errors on the Warriors to serve into a set point, ESU responded with two-in-a-row to re-tie the match at 24, but Howe and Moyer polished off the set with back-to-back kills for the set win.
Kutztown rode the newfound momentum into the fourth set, its best of the night. KU hit .353 with 15 kills to three errors and ended the frame on a 16-6 run to win the fourth, 25-13.
Momentum was easily on Kutztown’s side to start the fifth. KU worked its way to an 8-5 lead at the halfway point. ESU roared back to tie the match at 10-10, and the combination of two ESU kills and three KU bobbles pushed East Stroudsburg across the finish line to victory.
East Stroudsburg was led by Desiree Claxton’s 15 kills and 21 digs. Sarah Smith had 12 kills and 24 digs, while Rosa Veliky rounded out the three 20-dig Warriors with 23. Setter Erica Cunningham led the offense with 37 assists.
Kutztown looks ahead to its final three matches of the season, all at home. KU plays next on Friday, Nov. 10, against Cheyney University at 1 p.m. and Salem International at 5 p.m. at Keystone Arena.