Lakers Earn Hard-Fought Sweep Over Knights

Eisenhower's Kenzie Miller. File photo by Steve Younger.

RUSSELL, Pa. – It wasn’t Friday Night Lights, but Olivia Kulyk was a run-stopper Tuesday as Mercyhurst Prep swept Eisenhower, 3-0 (25-14, 25-21, 25-18).

Rewatch the game:

Kulyk finished with nine kills, five aces, and four blocks on her way to earning Allegheny Grille of Foxburg Player of the Match honors.

After jumping out to a big lead in the first set, the Lakers began committing unforced errors and saw a more confident Knights team in the final two sets. The teams went back and forth through the final two sets, but every time Mercyhurst Prep needed a point to stop an Eisenhower run, Kulyk was up to the challenge.

“We didn’t play up to the level of play that we can play at (in the final two sets),” Kulyk said in the Cole Orthodontic Associates postgame interview. “We slowed up on our game. We just have to keep the energy up throughout the game.”

See Kulyk’s full Cole Orthodontic Associates postgame interview:

It was smooth sailing for the Lakers in the first set as they jumped out to an 11-2 lead and never looked back on their way to a 25-14 win.

After going up 3-0 to start the second set, the mistakes started. Eva Dvorak put the 3-0 serve into the net, the first of five service errors in the set.

“Just a bad night, bad consistency,” Kulyk said. “It’s something we need to work on, one of our weaknesses for sure. We have good servers we just have to get more consistent with it.”

While the Lakers were struggling with their serves, the Knights were finding success at the service line.

“Our goal was to have 90% serving and we had 87%, which was 13% points higher than Mercyhurst Prep,” Knights coach Lori Pascuzzi said. “We did a good job serving.”

Eisenhower took its first lead of the match, 9-8, in the second set. The teams traded the lead several times throughout the remainder of the set before the Lakers overcame the errors and held off the Knights for a 25-21 win.

That the Knights were able to keep pace with the Lakers, both statistically and on the scoreboard, are things first-year coach Pascuzzi can build on.

“Our serve receive was only a negative 3% differential from Mercyhurst Prep,” Pascuzzi said.

The third set was back-and-forth to start, but eventually Mercyhurst Prep pulled away for the 25-18 win and a match sweep.

Layla Edwards led the Knights with five kills. Emilie Jones, Kenzie Miller, and Caroline Smythe each had two kills.

Addica Sperry led the Lakers with 11 kills and eight digs. Mya Fuller had eight digs and four aces. Julia Seth had six digs and ran the offense with 26 assists.