The new-look Statesmen discovered a lot about themselves Saturday as they began their 2015 campaign with a 1-1 record at the Mount Mercy Triangular.
William Penn (1-1) rallied to defeat Purdue-North Central (Ind.) 3-2 (25-13, 21-25, 22-25, 25-18, 17-15), but then fell 3-0 to host Mount Mercy (19-25, 13-25, 14-25).
The navy and gold used 17 different players on the afternoon, including 11 newcomers.
“We got to see a lot of things today, including putting different players in different positions and seeing how they worked together,” Head Coach Jennifer Carlson said. “Communication was one of our biggest hurdles today, but we saw what we need to really focus on. Our win in the first match was a big one for us. Mount Mercy passed really well which kept them in their system, but we did not so we were out of our system a lot. We will be back at it Monday and start focusing for the big weekend we have ahead.”
WPU started things off with its best set of the day, hitting .333 for its most lopsided set victory. Unfortunately, the Panthers battled back with a pair of tight wins, but the Statesmen were able to force a fifth and decisive set.
P-NC was on the verge of still holding on, going up 14-10 in the last set, but a determined William Penn squad did not surrender. The Statesmen tallied five points of their own and eventually finished off the rally to take their season opener.
Newcomers Savanna Hartman (Jr., Morgan Hill, Calif., Psychology) and Claire Simmons (Fr., Williamsburg, Iowa, Psychology) set the tone with 11 and 10 kills, respectively. Simmons tallied a double-double by also digging 19 Panther attacks.
Shawni Wills (Jr., Oskaloosa, Iowa, Biology) added eight kills and four more players managed at least three winners apiece.
Leyra Jusino (Sr., Bayamon, P.R., General Biology) captained the offense with a double-double of 39 assists and 14 digs, while Danielle Breeher (Sr., St. Louis, Mo., Biology) guided the defense with 32 digs. Both Breeher and Simmons served up two aces in the victory, while Ashley Miller (Fr., Kalona, Iowa) dug 16 hits and Justine Arguelles (Fr., Ventura, Calif., Biology) recorded four blocks (two solos, two assists).
WPU finished with a slight .094-.075 hitting edge.
Things obviously did not go as well in the second matchup with the Statesmen being outhit .314-.063. Natalie Sieck (Sr., Ankeny, Iowa, Sociology) was the offensive stars versus the Mustangs with seven kills and a .294 clip.
Jusino (14 assists), Miller (nine digs), Breeher (one ace), and Arguelles (two block assists) also contributed in the loss.
Next Up: William Penn travels to Orange City Friday and Saturday to compete in the Northwestern Red Raider Classic. On Friday, the Statesmen take on Briar Cliff at 12:30 p.m. and #12 Northwestern at 4:30 p.m. On Saturday, WPU meets #9 Midland (Neb.) at 9 a.m. and Mayville State (N.D.) at 3 p.m.
Story provided by Wade Steinlage