By: Matylda Zamudio
MONACA, Pa.— The Penn State Beaver women's volleyball team lost a close PSUAC conference game against Penn State Mont Alto (3-2) at home Sunday afternoon, snapping its five-game winning streak.
The Lady Lions came out strong against Mont Alto in the first set and found themselves up by 6 points thanks to two late back-to-back kills by freshman Priscilla Medal (Naples/Lorenzo Walker Tech), which brought the score to 21-15. In the final minutes of the set, senior Amanda Mike (Hopewell) got a late kill to put the match at set point (24-20), which she followed up with a service ace to take a 25-20 win in the opening set for Beaver.
The teams fought hard against each other in set two, keeping the game within 2-3 points down to the end with the game tied at 23-23. But Mont Alto struck and got the game to set point and scored a service ace in the final rally, handing the Lady Lions a close 25-23 lose to tie the game at 1-1.
The Lady Lions looked to come out on top, once again, in the third set and kept the game close before tying with Mont Alto at 14-14. But Mont Alto got hot and made an 11-4 run to close the set 25-18 and go up 2-1 against Beaver.
The teams played the most exciting and action-packed set in the fourth, which began with Mont Alto firing on all cylinders to take a 9-point lead at 14-5. However, the Lady Lions showed grit and determination as they made a big comeback with an 11-0 run to get within striking distance of the lead (16-14), forcing Mont Alto to call a time-out. Then, Mont Alto started to pull away by 4 points (19-15), but Beaver started to comeback with freshman Mine' Okoloko (Boca Raton/NMH) and sophomore Ramiya White (Westland/Wayne Memorial) combining for three late kills to put the score at 20-19. In the final minutes of the set, Mike threw down a late kill to tie the game at 23-23, forcing another time-out by Mont Alto. The ladies of Mont Alto would dig their own grave in the last two rallies, after hitting the ball into their net, followed by a serving error to give Beaver a 25-23 win and force a fifth set.
The momentum of the last set didn't carry over for Beaver in the final set, who had a slow start and fell behind 9-1. But back-to-back points from sophomore Maria Slater (Houston/Elsik) helped Beaver stay in the game by cutting Mont Alto's lead to 4 points (9-5). However, Beaver had three errors in the final minutes of the set (15-8) and handed Mont Alto a 3-2 victory for the day.
Medal led the offense with 12 kills, one block and three digs, followed by Mike, who contributed 11 kills, two service aces and six digs of her own. Sophomore Kelsie Hallum (Hopewell) finished with 35 assists, four service aces and seven digs. On defense, sophomore Heaven Bowman (Houston/Dulles) finished with a whopping 26 digs, followed by senior Alexis Albrecht (Oakdale/Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter), who finished with 15 digs.
After today's match, Beaver now stands at (6-3) overall for the regular season and 2-1 in the PSUAC conference standings.
The Lady Lions will hit the road to face Carlow University Thursday, Sept. 19. The game is slated for 7 p.m.