KSU swept USC Upstate on Friday and NJIT on Saturday at the Convocation Center.
Friday’s match against USC Upstate was this year’s Griffin’s Game. The annual Griffin’s Game started in 2015 when Griffin Schunzel, son of head coach Kieth Schunzel, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. KSU uses Griffin’s Game to honor families and raise money to help with their medical expenses.
This year’s game honored David Sannuti and his family. He was diagnosed with ALL leukemia in December 2016. All proceeds from sales and donations went directly to the Sannuti family.
“What a great night for our program,” Schunzel said after the game. “Every Griffin’s Game is special because it’s so important for Bri [Schunzel] and I to give back when so many people have given to us in our fight.”
KSU capped the night off by downing USC Upstate in straight sets. The Owl’s defense did not give up a single ace and limited the Spartans to a .141 hitting percentage.
“I was really proud that the team controlled their emotions as tonight tends to be a little more emotional,” Schunzel said. “For the most part, we played really clean, consistent volleyball and we had a lot of great performances.”
They carried the momentum into Saturday, taking down NJIT 3-0. The Owls won each set by at least 10 points.
The defense was even better than the previous night, limiting the Highlanders to a .089 hitting percentage while racking up 38 total digs.
“The thing I’m happiest about tonight was the high level of play in set one to the very last point in set three,” Schunzel said. “That doesn’t just happen. We had great leadership tonight, stayed really focused and were very intentional about playing good, consistent volleyball all night long.”
The final set ended with a kill from senior Anaiah Boyer, her team-leading 160th of the year.
Friday and Saturday’s victories put the Owls at a perfect 8-0 at home and are now on a three-game winning streak.
KSU will need to keep this momentum going, as they travel to Tennessee to take on conference rival Lipscomb, who is also riding a three-game winning streak. The match will be played on Friday at 7:30 p.m.