By Jacob Cain
Middletown, PA– The Penn State Harrisburg women’s volleyball team lost Saturday’s match in straight sets, while promoting breast cancer awareness day in front of an energetic crowd with a special “Dig Pink” promotion.
Playing the Salisbury Sea Gulls, whose campus is located in Ocean City, Maryland, the Lions never really gained any serious momentum in the game. The Sea Gulls jumped out to an 11-6 lead in the first set, at which point the Lions took their first timeout. Soon after the timeout, the Lions bench was assessed a yellow card for unsportsmanlike conduct. It was unclear what exactly caused the yellow card, although it appears that excessive bench noise was the likely reason for the head official making that call. Salisbury would win the first set by the dominating score of 25-11.
Things didn’t get much better for Penn State in the second set. The Lions appeared to be gaining a little bit of traction as the first few points went back and forth, and the score was 15-11 in favor of Salisbury at one point. However, the Sea Gulls then would then go on a 10-6 run to go into intermission needing to win only one more set.
There were several Salisbury students who had made the trip with the team. The excitement in their eyes and voices was easily seen as they cheered with great intensity. The home team was better represented, but did not make their presence known as much with noise as the few Salisbury students did.
Angela Burkett, the first-year head coach of Penn State, must have said something inspiring at intermission, because the Lions played arguably their best volleyball in the early part of the third set. Penn State had multiple leads, and even when Salisbury jumped ahead 11-10, it felt as though the Lions had some life within them. Salisbury would then score seven of the next eleven points until Penn State called a timeout. The Sea Gulls could smell victory, and they would not look back. They took control out of the timeout, and they finished off the Lions by a score of 25-18.
This is the fourth time this season that Penn State has lost in straight sets. The most recent of those games came against Lebanon Valley at home on September 15. The Lions have won two matches in straight sets this season. The Lions fall to 1-1 in conference play, and they are 6-8 overall this season. They drop to 4-2 on their home court at the Capital Union Building. The Lions next match will be on the road against Marymount (VA) Friday night at seven. Their next home game is on Friday, October 14 against Frostburg State. That game is the “Spike for a Cure” game and activities will focus on raising awareness for pediatric cancer.
Despite losing the game, the Dig Pink campaign was certainly not lost. The public address announcer read a poem entitled, “Persistence” before the game as part of the breast cancer awareness activities. At the intermission between the second and third set, several harrowing statistics about the disease were read aloud. A box for donations was passed around, and in only a few short minutes, over two-hundred dollars was raised.
Find more about Dig Pink at: http://www.side-out.org/digpink/