Eastern women’s volleyball overcame a season-ending injury to its star setter to become PAC champions for the ninth straight time November 5.
Supported by the large crowd in the nearly-filled gym, and sporting strong passing, the Eagles beat the Gwynedd-Mercy Gryphons 3-0.
According to Coach Mark Birtwistle, the team’s ability to pass helped junior Chelsea Lyon, who replaced senior Erin Meredith as setter after Meredith tore her ACL two weeks ago.
Lyon fit well into her role as setter, logging 45 assists during the game.
During the first game of the match, Eastern jumped into the lead on the first serve and held its lead the rest of the game, winning easily, 30-18.
The second game was back-and-forth until Eastern, supported by good serving and digs from senior Susannah Cobb and serves by senior Jacey Bray, pulled ahead 21-15. Gwynedd-Mercy then fought back, tying the game at 29-29 with a close hit over the fence.
Eastern came back strong, getting two points before Gwynedd-Mercy tied the score briefly at 32-32. Emma Klein wrapped up the game at 34-32 with a shot over the fence.
Eastern won Game 3 easily, with good serving by Klein, Bray and Cobb. Klein also scored several key hits from the corner, and Cobb saved several points with digs. Mandy Platt gave Eastern the 30-19 win with a shot over the fence.
Key players of the game included senior Bray, with 12 kills and 13 digs, sophomore Klein, with 16 kills and senior Cobb, with 19 digs.
The championship game followed the semifinals game on November 3 against Neumann College, in which Eastern, although struggling a bit at the beginning of the first game, managed to win in three games.
Birtwistle credited the wins to Eastern’s serving and passing skills.
The biggest play of that match was a dig in the first game by Cobb. Cobb had 10 digs during that game.
The team will head to the NCAA Division III tournament on November 9.