By: Matylda Zamudio
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va.— The Penn State Beaver women's volleyball team was eliminated by rival Penn State Greater Allegheny in day two of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association National Tournament Friday morning, 3-0. Beaver finishes 0-2 in the team's first-ever USCAA tournament appearance in the Penn State Beaver Athletic program's history.
The teams were close in the opening minutes of the first set with Beaver only down by 1 at 5-4, until Greater Allegheny made a 7-2 run to put the Lady Lions down by 6 points at 12-6. However, an attack error by Greater Allegheny, followed by back-to-back aces by sophomore Heaven Bowman (Houston/Dulles) prompted the Lady Lions to make a 6-0 run to tie the set at 12-12. Beaver then grabbed the lead two rallies later, on a kill by sophomore Maria Slater (Houston/Elsik), who was assisted by sophomore Kelsie Hallum (Hopewell) to make it a one-point match (14-13). But Greater Allegheny got hot in the final minutes of the set, holding Beaver to only 5 more points to take a 25-18 loss in set one.
Beaver opened the second with a 5-3 lead, the teams tied the contest midway through the set, 10-10. Then, Greater Allegheny took a 7-2 run that put the Lady Lions in a 17-12 deficit, which they couldn't battle back from, resulting in 25-17 loss in set two.
In the third, the tied the set early at 7-7, Greater Allegheny but put some scoring distance between them and Beaver with a 4-0 run (11-7). Beaver then cut the Greater Allegheny's lead to two (11-9) as sophomore Emily Keener (Utica) assisted on back-back kills, the of which came from sophomore Ramiya White (Westland/Wayne Memorial), followed by freshman Mine' Okoloko (Boca Raton/NMH). However, Greater Allegheny outscored Beaver 15-7 in the remaining part of the set, and pulled away with the win (25-16) in set three, giving the Lady Lions a 3-0 loss in the match.
Inside the box
Slater led the team offense, finishing with (7) kills, one service ace and (5) digs. In addition, freshman Priscilla Medal (Naples/Lorenzo Walker Tech) and Okoloko also lead the team in kills, each contributing (7) kills and one dig apiece, followed by senior Amanda Mike (Hopewell), who finished with (6) kills, one assist and (9) digs.
Keener led the team in assists with 13 and finished with (4) digs.
On defense, Bowman led the team with 16 digs as well as leading with two service aces.
Despite the final result of the match, the Lady Lions made history by securing a spot for the first time in the USCAA tournament and making a second consecutive run at the Penn State University Athletic Conference title. Beaver finished the season with a final overall record of 19-12 and 8-4 in the PSUAC conference standings.