FULLERTON, CALIF. (August 30, 2014)—Ana Gonzalez (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) was named to the Titan Classic All-Tournament Team after tallying 35 digs and six service aces throughout the Sacred Heart women's volleyball team's three matches. The Pioneers finish the Titan Classic 0-3 after getting swept by Cal State Fullerton (25-17, 25-21, 25-18) and losing a heartbreaker to Bucknell (25-22, 25-22, 16-25, 21-25, 12-15) on day two of the tournament.
While Gonzalez was an integral part of the defense, her classmate Sarah Krufka (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) was the driving force of the Pioneers' offense both days. She led all players in each match tallying 17 kills against Texas Tech on Friday and Bucknell on Saturday, and thirteen against Fullerton.
After dropping the first set 25-17 of their match against the Titans, the Pioneers got their first lead of the match early in set two as consecutive Fullerton attack errors put SHU up 2-1. The score tied eight times that set before the Titans broke a 10-all score taking the lead. From there, they never relinquished it and took the second set 25-21.
The Pioneers fell behind 4-1 quickly in the third set, but rallied behind kills from Tori Kemper and Krufka to take a 5-4 lead. SHU was cruising in set three, expanding their lead to 12-9 with a kill from Krufka. But Fullerton rallied behind an 8-1 streak to reclaim the lead 17-13 en route to the 25-18 win.
Sacred Heart's offense seemed to be clicking on all cylinders in the day's second match as they racked up 60 kills and took the first two sets 25-22. But they lost momentum in the third as the Bison managed a six-point run down the stretch to take the set 25-16.
After falling behind 5-0 immediately in the fourth set, the Pioneers rallied back behind string serving from Gonzalez and Alisa Mesa (Long Beach, Calif.), and on a kill from junior Katie Direnzo (Shelton, Conn.), SHU took the lead 20-19. It was short lived, however, as Bucknell came right back and took the set on a 6-1 run.
While they overcame a quick three-point deficit and tied the score five times in the decisive set, Sacred Heart never got a grip on the lead and ultimately fell 15-12.
Sacred Heart returns home next weekend to host the SHU Hampton Inn Shelton Invitational. This year, the tournament will feature Rhode Island, Hartford and Iona. Action begins Friday, September 5 at noon.