Statesmen Pull off Upset of #25 Rocky Mountain

La Crosse–The William Penn women’s volleyball team continued their run at the Viterbo tournament with another tough matchup against the #25 Battlin’ Bears.

The Statesmen bounced back from their first loss of the year last night in convincing fashion, capturing their first win over a ranked opponent with a 3-1 victory in sets of 25-16, 26-24, 24-26, 25-20.

The navy and gold hung tight with their opponent during the opening parts of the match. After playing to an 8-8 tie, the Statesmen made their move. William Penn rattled off five points in a row to take a 13-8 lead, then after conceding a lone point to Rocky Mountain, strung together 10 of the next 13 to take a commanding 22-11 lead in a set they won 25-16. Alyvia Johnson (Fr., Owatonna, Minn.) continued her strong start to the season, leading all attackers with five kills in the opening set.

The next set started anything but promising for William Penn. The Battlin’ Bears looked to put the Statesmen away early after jettisoning themselves to a 9-2 lead early on. Entering chipaway mode, the navy and gold brought it all the way back, finally evening things back up at the 13-13 mark. The two teams traded points back and forth, tying each other at every step of the way until 20-20. Rocky Mountain threatened to even the match at one, making it to set point at 24-21. A furious rally highlighted by three Corrin Lepper (Sr., Jefferson City, Mo.) kills and an ace from Rebekah Eaves (Sr., Farmington, N.M.) gave the Statesmen five consecutive points and a strong 2-0 lead in the match.

The Statesmen, looking to make a statement, once again found themselves in an early hole as the Battlin’ Bears took a 14-9 lead at the midway point. Rallying back once again, the navy and gold tied the set back up once again at 23-23, and put themselves one point away from a sweep. This time, however, it was Rocky Mountain who stormed back late with three straight points to earn themselves another set.

In what ended up being the concluding set, the Statesmen were finally able to jump out to a lead at the midway point, pulling ahead at 8-7. From there, they captured seven of the next eight points, never again relinquishing the lead as they downed the Battlin’ Bears in four sets after taking the fourth and final set 25-20.

It was a huge night for Lepper, as she finished with 19 kills to lead all attackers. The 19 kills were just one off of her career high for a single game. Johnson had a remarkably efficient night, finishing with 11 kills against only one error. Alyssa Young (Jr., Winter Springs, Fla.) made her presence felt on offense with 13 kills, while Alicia Jaquez (Sr., Farmington, N.M.) and Symone Jopp (Jr., Mayer, Minn.) contributed 9 and 7, respectively.

Macy Bailey (Jr., Bondurant, Iowa) once again worked as the primary setter, assisting in 35 of the team’s 64 kills. Annalise Whitcomb (Sr., Humboldt, Kan.) worked behind her, earning 21 assists.

Cameryn Campbell (Sr., Jefferson City, Mo.) put in big time work in the back row, leading both teams with 28 digs. Johnson had a double digit showing with 14, while Eaves joined the two with 10.

“It was great to see the girls bounce back tonight,” said Head Coach Aleesha Cleaver. “Rocky Mountain is a talented team and very well coached. I felt like from the beginning we set the tone and really kept pushing forward.”

“We were able to spread the ball out amongst several key players and that was key for our offense,” she added. “We’re excited to get back tomorrow as we face two very tough opponents again.”

What’s Next: The Statesmen finish up the Viterbo Tournament tomorrow with two quick games against Michigan-Dearborn and Carroll. The first game is scheduled to start at 11 AM, and the Carroll game will follow shortly after at 1:30 PM.

Posted by on Sep 13 2021. Filed under College Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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