ABINGTON, Pa. – For the past three weeks the Gallaudet University volleyball team went up against teams ranked in the nation and region to help prepare them for conference play. The experience gained from those matches paid off the Bison over the weekend as Gallaudet made its highly anticipated North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) debut. The Bison swept the two-day tournament hosted by Penn St.-Abington as GU won every match with the same 3-0 score. In fact Gallaudet only allowed its opponents to score more than 15 points in a set twice out of 12 sets possible.
Gallaudet (10-8, 4-0 NEAC) set the tone on Saturday with back-to-back wins over Penn St.-Berks (25-10, 33-31, 25-12) and College of St. Elizabeth (25-4, 25-9, 25-19). The Bison then swept Penn St.-Abington (25-8, 25-14, 25-13) and Penn St.-Harrisburg (25-15, 25-12, 25-13) on Sunday.
GU was led by junior setter Paige Johnson (North Richland Hills, Texas) who made 110 assists, 21 digs and 19 service aces in 12 sets played. Sophomores Ann Whited (Fishers, Ind.), Mari Klassen (White Rock, British Columbia) and Jessica Israel (Frederick, Md.) were a force upfront. Whited finished the two-day tournament with a team-high 36 kills to go with 18 digs and nine service aces. Klassen had 27 kills, 13 service aces and 11 digs while Israel added 34 kills, two blocks and two service aces. Fellow sophomore Krystal Johnson (North Richland Hills, Texas) added 12 kills, 11 digs and four service aces in the four wins. Junior Micaela Paulone (Fishers, Ind.) had 19 digs and seven service aces.
Gallaudet has now won five consecutive matches by shutout. The Bison will place that streak on the line Tuesday, September 28, in Dover, Del., against Wesley College at 7 p.m.