Wade Steinlage, Assistant Athletic Director for Communications
OSKALOOSA —T he Statesmen women’s volleyball team honored its eldest players on Senior Night and concluded the regular season with a bang as they defeated Mount Mercy in five sets.
William Penn (12-19, 7-11 Heart) fell behind early in the match, losing the first two sets to Mount Mercy (18-11, 8-8 Heart) but stormed back to take the final three sets to cap off a Game of the Year candidate inside the Penn Activity Center.
WPU got off to a slow start, losing the opening set 25-21 but started to get some momentum going in the second. The Statesmen led the set 24-20 but an impressive 6-0 run from the Mustangs netted them the victory. The navy and gold reappeared for the third set, determined to not let another game slip away. They came out and pounded the visitors 25-19, outhitting them .237 to -.024. The fourth was no easy task for the squad as they found themselves with their backs against the wall down 23-21 late, but a couple of key kills courtesy of Libby Zorn (Jr., Billings, Mont., History) and one from Danielle Pendzinski (Sr., Winnebago, Ill., Elementary Education) gave them the 27-25 win to force a fifth and final set. The final set was one of run as both teams had opportunities to run away with it. However, it was the Statesmen who had the final run after they led 11-10, the team scored four of the next five points, capped off with a big kill from Alyssa Young (Fr., Winter Springs, Fla., Biology) to give them the 15-11 win and the match.
Overall, William Penn outhit Mount Mercy .191-.155.
Zorn led the way with 16 kills while Corrin Lepper (So., Jefferson City, Mo., Exercise Science) contributed 14 and Young added 11, hitting at a .421 clip. Pendzinski narrowly missed the double-digit plateau, collecting nine kills in her last match as a Statesmen. Nesreen Iskandrani (Sr., Lawrence, Kan., History and Political Science) and Nashali Cruz (Sr., Bayamon, P.R., Biology) both had some great senior night moments and came up big down the stretch, combining for 11 kills.
Sydney Roush (Jr., Osceola, Wis., Sports Management) and Annalise Whitcomb (Jr., Humboldt, Kan.) handled the setting duties, combining for 60, finishing with 33 and 27, respectively.
Defensively, four Statesmen collected double-digit dig totals. Cameryn Campbell (Jr., Jefferson City, Mo.) paced the team with 32 while Cecily Liphardt (Fr., Lincoln, Neb., Psychology) had 17, Casi Gacusana (Sr., Kea’au, Hawaii, Biology) had 15 and Whitcomb had 10. The block was also key in the victory as Pendzinski and Lepper both had eight.
“It was a lot of fun to be able to coach this group tonight,” head coach Aleesha Cleaver said. “The energy and effort was there the entire match. I am so proud of the seniors and happy for them. They have worked incredibly hard for this. They truly are an amazing group.”
The seniors honored before match were Nashali Cruz, Casi Gacusana, Kiara Davis, Nesreen Iskandrani, Alexis Jensen, Shauna Knodel, and Danielle Pendzinski.