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After opening their 2019 season at a disappointing 1-7, the Hawks are well on track to outperform their 7-21 2019 season.

After a long weekend of competition at the Charleston Invitational in West Virginia, the IUP women’s volleyball team returns home this week to prepare for another trip to the mountain state this coming weekend.

IUP finished the Charleston Invitational with a 2-2 record, pushing it to 4-3 on the season, albeit without a single game played against a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) opponent yet.

Although a 2-2 finish at a tournament is a fine result, head coach Julie Torbett believes the first game of the invitational should have been a win. IUP lost an extremely close five-set match to open the tournament, losing 3-2 and with a spread of only three points.

“The Chowan game was close but never should have been,” Torbett said. “We played to their level and allowed them to gain confidence. We played tight and collectively underperformed. Although I was happy, they fought back and won sets three and four.

“It was overall a disappointing loss to open the tournament.”

IUP won its next game in a sweep, lost 3-1 to Ohio Dominican and finished the tournament with another sweep against the host, Charleston, with a big home court advantage.

When asked about how it feels to exit a long tournament on a win, especially against a team on its own court, Torbett offered her perspective.

“It is always nice to sweep an opponent on their home court. It gives us a winning feeling all week heading into the next weekend,” Torbett said.

Especially with a two-to-three-hour bus ride back home, many athletes would agree that you do not want to ride such a distance with the sour taste of a loss lingering.

IUP’s winning record this far may be, in part, due to the phenomenal scoring ability of outside hitter Nicole Peterson (junior, sport administration). She reached 100 kills on the season this weekend against Charleston, and even her coach was impressed with the amount of productivity she has had thus far.

“Nicole is in a scoring position,” Torbett said. “We rely on her to put the ball away. That is great she reached 100 kills already this season.”

Looking forward to this weekend, IUP will be playing only 15 minutes away from its tournament host last weekend, heading to West Virginia State University (WVSU) for a three-game invitational where its biggest opponent will again be the host: the WVSU Yellow Jackets.

The Yellow Jackets head into their invitational with a fearsome 7-2 record, but Torbett offered some wisdom as to not let such numbers affect the players’ mental state.

“I try to prepare for each team equally and I am new to Division II, so I am not as familiar with some of these teams,” Torbett said. “The record is relative to the competition that WVSU played. We will be ready to compete and look forward to the weekend.”

IUP will begin the invitational on Sept. 17 at 10 a.m. against Central State. Then the team faces off against the aforementioned Yellow Jackets at noon and finishes its play at WVSU against St. Augustine’s at 6 p.m.

Supporters can tune in to watch the Hawks for the game against the host at WVSU’s streaming service, mountaineast.tv.

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