Lady Roaring Lions belt Beaver
UNIONTOWN – After falling into a mini-slump over the past couple of games, the Penn State-Fayette volleyball team decided to celebrate teammate Leigh Ritz’s birthday with a convincing 3-0 win over visiting Penn State-Beaver. Crystal Bemillion and Lianne Bartock racked up some big service numbers to lead the Lady Roaring Lions to victory in straight sets of 30-15, 30-21, 30-14.
‘I felt that they did bring the team morale up from the losses that they’ve suffered in the last two days,’ Fayette coach Lora Maddas said. ‘This was definitely a rebound game for us.’
Maddas said that hanging onto the early momentum was key for Fayette, which had started out strong in Monday’s game against the Community College of Beaver County before falling behind and taking the loss. However, Maddas said the Lady Roaring Lions could still play better.
‘Consistency is what we were looking for,’ she said. ‘I think the statistics were pretty moderate for this team, but we did improve team morale.’
Bemillion’s 25 service points led the team, while Bartock was close to the mark with 21. Julie Davis served up eight aces, and Kari Kronander led the defense with 12 kills on the night.
Fayette fell behind a couple of points as the first set opened, but the team rebounded behind Valerie Henderson’s serves to grab a 5-3 lead. Tina Mancini pulled Beaver within one, but the Lady Roaring Lions widened the gap, with Bartock eventually serving the team’s way to a 16-7 advantage. Bartock was also behind the line to finish the set, chalking up a pair of aces before Valerie Henderson scored the game-winning point.
Beaver battled harder in the second set, jumping out to a 4-1 lead early on and clinging to their advantage until midway through the set, when Bemillion stepped up to serve and turned a 14-12 deficit into a 14-14 tie. Beaver took a timeout to regroup, but Bemillion extended her team’s lead to 21-14 before the visitors managed to chart a kill.
Once more, Bartock was serving when the set came to a close. She got some help from Kronander, whose blistering return went unanswered for the Fayette point and the win.
In the third set, it was the Lady Roaring Lions’ turn to get off to a quick start. Unlike Beaver, though, Fayette was able to hold onto its lead, thanks in part to the strong defensive play of Kronander and Davis, as well as some key plays from Henderson and Ritz. Bemillion was back for five straight service points to give the Lady Roaring Lions an 18-10 lead, and after a short turn at serving by Beaver’s Jen Livengood, Davis followed up with three aces among her four service points.
With Beaver trailing 23-11, Jessica Ejak stepped to the line to serve and was able to gain three points before Kronander found a hole for her soft return to rack up the kill. That brought Bartock back to serve, and she closed out the game as Fayette added to its win column.
‘I think we played really well as a team today,’ Bartock said. ‘We all kept our heads up, and no one got down on themselves.’
Maddas added that the team’s serving game looked better.
‘I thought our serves had been somewhat poor the last three games, and we did improve our serves,’ she said.
Penn State-Fayette (13-2, 15-4) will try to keep up its winning ways next Wednesday at Potomac State.