Xuan leads the way to PSAC semi-finals: Lady Eagles dominate with victory over Marauders; Walsh makes history

By Robert Mohr
Staff Writer

November 15, 2012

Photo courtesy of Sports Information.
Erin Walsh (right) finished up the night with 12 digs. Walsh set a school record for digs with 1,724.

It was Gao Xuan who got right down to business as the playoffs kicked off against Millersville at Thomas Fieldhouse Tuesday evening in front of a fantastic fan turnout.

She was a massive presence in the match, putting in one of the best performances fans have seen for a long time as the Haven fought past the Marauders in 3 sets (25-22, 25-18, 25-16).

Xuan, of Dong Ying , China,  was reliable for a remarkable 8 aces, 10 digs, 2 block and 18 kills, boasting a hitting percentage of .552.

Previous to the match, Xuan was named PSAC East Player of the Week for the second consecutive week.

The match also marked a milestone for senior libero, Erin Walsh, who broke the school record for career digs.

The previous record was set at a lofty bench mark at 1,717 held by Li Yizhi before Walsh surpassed it in the second set, finishing the match with a career 1,724.

Though the Marauders were swept in three sets, they did not lie down easy, making the match a dog fight in the first two sets, exchanging blows from the very beginning.

Lock Haven had appeared to break the Millersville team’s spirit by opening up strong in the second set, leading by seven at one point. However, the opposition would not lie down. They rallied back to lead the home team 15-12.

Fortunately for Coach Kreiger’s team, they found an extra gear. The Lady Eagle’s kicked it up a notch with sensational senior leadership from Xuan who turned hero with a hitting percentage of .833 in the second set; she only failed to score on 2 attempts.

The floodgates opened in set number three. There was no turning back after Lock Haven took a commanding lead of the Marauders who had no answer for the cannon balls being fired at them.

Grace Novacek, a senior, did her bit with six kills and three blocks on the night.

Junior, Bailey Farthing also recorded five kills in the quarterfinal triumph.

The team will be looking to use this momentum in the next round which takes them to Erie, Pennsylvania, the home of tournament hosts Gannon, to take on California University of Pennsylvania, a recent rival for the Lady Eagles.

Cal edged out Lock Haven in last year’s PSAC final in four tense sets.  The girls will be out for revenge against a Cal team that fell to Lock Haven earlier this season.

Robert Mohr is a senior majoring in communications and can be contacted at rhomr@lhup.edu.


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