Statesmen Drop Four at Season-Opening Event

William Penn University Athletics

William Penn University Athletics

by Wade Steinlage

Huntington, Ind.–The William Penn volleyball team improved as the weekend grew on, but could not bring home a victory as it competed at the Huntington Tournament Friday and Saturday.

The Statesmen (0-4) began Friday with a 3-0 setback to Brescia (Ky.) (23-25, 21-25, 21-25) before falling 3-1 to host Huntington (18-25, 25-23, 17-25, 22-25).

On Saturday, WPU lost 3-1 to Goshen (25-27, 26-28, 25-20, 20-25) and 3-2 to Saint Xavier (21-25, 10-25, 25-20, 27-25, 6-15).

Brescia 3, WPU 0

The Statesmen were barely outhit .141-.136, but could not tally points late in the sets. William Penn led 18-15 in the final set, but unfortunately was outscored 10-3 to close out the match.

Jordan Carter (Jr., Sigourney, Iowa, Elementary Education) shone in her navy and gold debut, tallying 12 kills with a .237 attack percentage.

Claire Simmons (Sr., Williamsburg, Iowa, Psychology) joined Carter in double digits with 11 winners, while Nesreen Iskandrani (So., Lawrence, Kan., History/Government) added six kills as well.

Haley Smith (Jr., Adrian, Mich., Elementary Education) managed 32 assists, while Ashley Miller (Jr., Kalona, Iowa, Exercise Science) began a big weekend with 23 digs.

Huntington 3, WPU 1

William Penn’s offensive numbers dipped a bit in Friday’s latter match (.151-.088). Simmons once again reached double digits with 10 kills; she completed a double-double with 10 digs.

Nashali Cruz (Fr., Bayamon, P.R., Biology) guided WPU with nine kills and a .381 hitting clip. The freshman was also a part of two blocks. Alexis Weatherspoon (Jr., Kansas City, Mo., Physical Education) contributed eight kills, while Iskandrani was good for five winning hits as well.

Smith’s 33 assists and Miller’s 23 digs were team highs as well.

Goshen 3, WPU 1

The Statesmen, who lost the hitting battle .155-.136, were headlined by Cruz with 16 kills and a .448 mark. Carter finished right behind her with 14 kills (.308 pct.), while Simmons also reached the double-figure plateau with 13 kills.

Kiara Davis (So., Thibodaux, La., Biology) posted a solid effort on both ends with five kills and five blocks as well. Smith assisted 49 times, served up two aces, and dug 13 opponent attacks for a double-double.

Miller tallied a weekend-high 30 digs.

Saint Xavier 3, WPU 2

The Statesmen started slowly in the first two sets, but bounced back to win the third and fourth rounds. Unfortunately, William Penn, which was outhit .314-.181, ran out gas in the final set in a weekend full of close calls.

Simmons topped the navy and gold with 11 kills, while Carter hit double digits as well with 10 kills. Cruz, with six kills, Davis, with five points and a .455 mark, and Karissa Wilcoxson (Sr., Ottumwa, Iowa, Education), with five kills, all also produced offensively.

Smith managed 28 assists and was strong at the net with four kills (.444 clip) and Miller capped a 105-dig weekend (6.6 per set) with 29 digs in addition to a pair of aces.

“I said earlier in the week that we could go 4-0 or 0-4,” Head Coach Jennifer Carlson said. “We all really wanted that ‘W’, but unfortunately it just did not happen.”

“There is a different team on the court this year,” Carlson said. “These girls are communicating; they are trusting each other and getting the job done most of the time. We struggled with finishing; we had opportunities to close some matches, but made mistakes that ended up costing us. We got better every match and fought back when we were down. Good things are going to happen if we keep moving in this direction.”

“I am very proud of how our players came together,” Carlson added. “We are going to stay hungry and get back in the gym on Monday and prepare for our home opener.”

Next Up: William Penn returns to Oskaloosa Tuesday to host Grace (Neb.) in non-conference action at 6 p.m.

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