By: Matylda Zamudio
MONACA, Pa.— The Penn State Beaver women's volleyball team scored a pair of 3-0 wins in Saturday's PSU Beaver Tri-Match against Potomac State Community College in game one, followed by Kent State University, Tuscarawas in game two.
The teams were neck-to-neck in the early minutes of set one. Then, with the set tied at 11-11, Beaver jumped ahead with a 5-0 run (16-11). Late in the set, the Lady Lions built up a comfortable distance from Potomac State C.C. thanks to freshman Mine' Okoloko (Boca Raton/NMH), who scored two late kills to give Beaver an 8-point edge (23-15). Sophomore Tylai Smith (Birmingham/Minor) dealt the final blow to Potomac State C.C. with a set-winning kill at 25-18. Beaver then had its most dominant set performance in the second, taking a 12-point win (25-13) to go up 2-0 against the ladies of Potomac State C.C. While the teams played a closer game in set three, Beaver managed to seal the deal and takedown Potomac State C.C by 25-20 to win game one, 3-0.
Okoloko led the way with 9 kills and 1 block, followed by senior Amanda Mike (Hopewell), who contributed 7 kills, 3 digs and 1 block. Sophomore Emily Keener (Utica) led the team in assists with 25 in game one as well as 10 digs. Sophomore Heaven Bowman (Houston/Dulles) played a big role on defense with 21 digs.
The Lady Lions kept the hot-streak going in game two against Kent St.-Tuscarawas, starting with a 25-18 win in the first set. Beaver wouldn't win the next one so easily, as Kent St.-Tuscarawas pulled ahead by 8 points midway through set two (15-7). But the Lady Lions dug deep and pulled themselves out of the 8-point hole with the help of 2 back-to-back kills from Okoloko (18-15), followed by back-to-back service aces by freshman Ashley Rabang (El Dorado Hills /Oak Ridge) to put Beaver in striking distance of taking back the lead (18-17). The match stayed close at 25-24, with Beaver trailing by 1 point. But freshman Priscilla Medal (Naples/Lorenzo Walker Tech) propelled Beaver to victory with back-to-back late kills, earning the team a 27-25 set-three win, which put Beaver up 2-0 over Kent St.-Tuscarawas heading into the third. With the momentum of winning a tough second set on their side, the Lady Lions turned up the heat in set three and shelled out a 10-point set victory (25-15) and their second win of the day.
Okoloko, once again, led Beaver in kills with 13, followed by Medal, who contributed 9 kills. Sophomore Kelsie Hallum (Hopewell) led the team in assists, contributing 34 of her own. Bowman and Rabang both had impressive performances on both sides of the floor: Bowman recorded 13 digs and 4 service aces while Rabang contributed 7 digs and 4 service aces.
After today's matches, Beaver is now on a three-game winning streak and improves to a (4-2) overall record.
The lady lions will be back to host their first conference against PSU rivals Penn State DuBois on Wednesday, Sept. 11. The game begins at 7 p.m.