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Sampson Reaches 1,000 Kills as Gannon Posts Enlightening 3-0 Win over D'Youville

Published: 09/30/2021

Lauren Sampson became the 18th Gannon player with 1,000 career kills.

Lauren Sampson became the 18th Gannon player with 1,000 career kills.

On a night when Lauren Sampson (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Davidson) would become the 18th Lady Knight with 1,000 career kills, the Gannon University women's volleyball team turned in an impressive performance against D'Youville at the Hammermill Center on Tuesday night. The Lady Knights disposed of the Saints, under unique circumstances, in three sets by scores of 25-7, 25-15, 25-10 to win for the fourth straight time while improving to 13-2. D'Youville is now 1-10.

The night began with a milestone, but in between the first and second sets it turned into an eerie evening. A fire in downtown Erie caused a power outage which left the Hammermill Center in partial darkness. With the auxiliary lights providing just enough light, the two teams decided to play on without the usual luxuries of a scoreboard and public address system.

"In what was one of the more unusual matches of my coaching career, I thought the team dealt well with some unique distractions and did what we needed to do to get the win.," head coach Matt Darling emphasized.  "On the positive side was Lauren Sampson (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Davidson) getting her 1,000th kill in a dominating first set. Makenna Gavin (Pittsburgh, Pa./Avonworth) picked up where Lauren left off and looked good on offense tonight." 

Sampson entered the evening needing three kills to become the 18th Lady Knight with 1,000 kills in her career. The senior outside hitter wasted little time in topping the mark. After D'Youville surprised Gannon by jumping out to a 4-1 lead, Sampson keyed a string of 13 straight points with five kills. Her 1,000th kill would give Gannon a 7-4 advantage. Sampson would finish with 6 kills in 9 attempts, boosting her career total to 1,003, then retire for the evening. Earlier in the day she had been named the PSAC West Athlete of the Week for the second time this season.

Madde Blake (Crystal Lake, Ill./Crystal Lake Central), meanwhile, capped the 25-7 first set win with three straight service aces to end the set. Gannon would hit an incredible .625 in the first set.  

With the two teams taking the court for the second set, the power went out in the building. That is, except for a Gannon team which substituted freely and continued to dominate the action. D'Youville would again jump out to the lead, this time at 6-3, before Gannon went on a 19-5 run for a 22-11 lead. The Lady Knights would win 25-15.
Gannon never trailed in the third set as Gavin had 6 kills in 8 attempts. The Lady Knights jumped out to 11-1 lead behind three kills from Gavin, and the Saints would never pull closer than seven points at 15-8. Gannon ended the night with the final seven points for a 25-10 win, with the last five points coming on service aces by senior Kenzie Lasher (Ford City, Pa./Armstrong).

Gannon ended the semi-lit evening with a .439 hitting percentage while limiting D'Youville to .125.  In addition, the Lady Knights totaled 21 service aces and had a block solo and 10 block assists. The balanced attack was led by Gavin, as the sophomore totaled a career-high 10 kills and a .500 hitting percentage. She added 3 block assists.

Freshman Hailey Koch (Littleton, Col./Dakota Ridge) added 7 kills, while Sampson and Blake had 6 apiece. Blake hit .750 and had 4 service aces. Senior Valeria Torres (Gurabo, Puerto Rico/Notre Dame) assumed the setter role this evening and finished with 29 assists. Lasher posted career highs for digs (15) and service aces (8). Freshman Shannon Coglianese (Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove) led the block party with 4 block assists.

The Lady Knights return to action this weekend to host a pair of key PSAC West matches. Pitt-Johnstown visits the Hammermill Center on Friday, October 1 for a 7 p.m. match, with Clarion providing the opposition the following day at 2 p.m. UPJ comes in with a 9-1 record, while Clarion is 9-5.

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