Trojans fall 3-1 to West Branch

MOUNT UNION – A horrible first set and trouble returning serve left Mount Union on the short end of a 3-1 loss to West Branch in an Inter-County Conference girls’ volleyball game on Tuesday evening.

The Warriors won the match by scores of 25-5, 25-23, 22-25 and 25-20, dropping the Trojans to 2-4 on the season and in the league. West Branch is now 10-1 on the season and 4-0 in ICC play.

Mount Union came out lackluster in the first set, missing service returns, making service errors and coupled with poor passing, gave the Warriors the opportunity you don’t want to give a good team.

West Branch started the set on a 7-1 run and never looked back. Taylor Myers led the visitors with six kills, two blocks and seven service points in the set. Taylor Kalke chipped in with three kills, two blocks and six service points.

“Our passing and serving have been up and down . When we’re on, we’re on and we don’t lose. When we’re off, it’s like a completely different team and I don’t recognize them,” Mount Union coach Tessa McCormick said. “We couldn’t stay consistent with our passing and serving and it hurt us tonight.”

The Trojans came out in game two looking like a different team. They pushed West Branch to the limit, closing the gap to 22-21 before Myers closed things out with two kills and a Mount Union missed return. Morgan Brumbaugh led Mount Union with five of her team-high 12 kills. Camille Posey had four kills and two blocks with Kaitlin Arnold getting four service points.

“That second set was like new people. Once they started passing the way we can pass and running our offense, they were having a hard time returning the ball to us. As long as we were passing like that, we could win the game,” McCormick said. “I like that fact that when we were passing well we weren’t being stopped offensively. That gives me hope that once our passing improves, we can put away that first ball and nothing else matters.”

Posey led Mount Union to victory in game three with her service game. The Trojans went on an 10-3 run to turn a 10-7 lead into a nice 20-10 cushion. Posey, who finished with 10 kills, had three kills and five service points in the game. The Trojan junior led the team with six aces.

“In the third set, we got our service game and passing going and that brought our confidence back. We’ve been turning our practices into serving in pressure situations and passing, passing passing,” McCormick said. “That’s the only thing we can do to improve and stay consistent.”

In the fourth game, West Branch took a slim 6-5 advantage and went on a 10-3 run to make it 16-8, but Mount Union fought back getting it as close as 20-16. Myers was the catalyst again for the visitors – closing the game out with three kills and a block. Myers led the Warriors with 21 kills and eight blocks.

Brumbaugh collected 14 digs and Amber Grove had 23 assists for Mount Union, who had to shuffle the lineup around this week due to some injuries.

“We had a bad injury on Thursday and we’ve moved our lineup around. We have some new girls on varsity, once we get familiar with that, improve our passing and stop going back and missing first serves, we will win a lot more matches,” McCormick said.

The West Branch JVs won 2-0.

Mount Union travels to Claysburg-Kimmel on Thursday, September 19.

West Branch 3, Mount Union 1

25-5, 25-23, 22-25, 25-20