The Penn State New Kensington volleyball team came up short in its home opener on Tuesday, falling to Penn State Fayette in straight sets. The visiting Roaring Lions prevailed by the score of 25-17, 25-12 and 25-14.
The match also marked the beginning of Penn State University Athletic Conference play for both squads. As a result of the setback, Penn State New Kensington's record stands at 1-3, and 0-1 in PSUAC action. Conversely, Penn State Fayette improved its mark to 6-3, and 1-0 on the conference slate.
In the opening set, the teams played even in the early stages, and were tied at 4-4. PSU Fayette broke serve to gain the lead, though, and the Roaring Lions added three more points on the service to take command. Kasey Klapheke helped PSU New Kensington remain in striking distance, though, as her serving prowess brought the Lions back within one, at 11-10. Ultimately, though, PSU Fayette never relinquished its lead, and claimed an eight-point win in the set.
The second set commenced with PSU New Kensington registering the first three points, but the lead was short lived, as Morgan Pytlak staked the Roaring Lions to a 7-4 lead with her work on the serve. Later in the second set, PSU Fayette sophomore Siteri Tale asserted her dominance from the service line, as she propelled her team to nine consecutive points to make it 19-6. Although PSU New Kensington attempted to battle back, the lead ultimately proved insurmountable.
In the final set, the Roaring Lions gained an early advantage, scoring five of the first six points. PSU New Kensington's Brittany Kotvas sparked a nice run for the Lions with her serves, though, pulling her squad within two, 8-6. The deeper PSU Fayette squad eventually took over, however, sealing the victory.
In the defeat, freshman hitter Brittany Kotvas paced the attack for the Lions with six kills, while Janet Surma and Gina Batiz contributed five and four kills, respectively. Surma, a freshman hitter, also led Penn State New Kensington with nine digs, while the quartet of Kotvas, Kaylea Flick, Melissa Braun and Kasey Klapheke each produced five digs. Flick was also instrumental in guiding the offense, as she notched 10 assists.
The top performer of the match, though, was Penn State Fayette sophomore Siteri Tale. Tale, a sophomore, recorded a game-high 11 kills, as well as eight aces. Additionally, Morgan Pytlak produced seven kills and a team-best seven digs, while Machaela Hall added 22 assists.
Penn State New Kensington, under the guidance of head coach Dave McGeary, return to action on Saturday, when the Lions host Penn State Beaver at 2 p.m.
Written by: Sean Meyers