NEW KENSINGTON, PA. - Playing in its first Penn State University Athletic Conference match of the season, the Penn State New Kensington women's volleyball team fell to PSU Mont Alto in straight sets. The homestanding Lions played from behind for most of the match, losing 25-11, 25-15, and 25-15. As a result, New Kensington's record now stands at 1-3, and 0-1 in PSUAC action. On the other side, Mont Alto improved to 2-4, and 1-1 in conference play.
In the opening set, New Kensington scored the first point of the match on the service, but failed to score another point on the serve the rest of the set. After breaking serve, Mont Alto rolled off seven consecutive points, keyed by the efforts of junior setter Katie Muse at the line. After taking command early, the visitors never looked back, cruising to a 14-point triumph.
In the second stanza, New Kensington gained a two-point edge on numerous occasions, including at 9-7. From there, however, Mont Alto compiled seven straight points, with freshman middle hitter Breanne Byers doing the damage on the service. The home squad was unable to pull within striking distance, as Mont Alto closed out the set on an 8-2 run.
Trailing the match 2-0, New Kensington was unable to find an early rhythm in the final set, as Mont Alto scored the first four points. The visitors continued to hold the upper hand at the service line, and although New Kensington showed its resiliency by scoring four-straight points when facing match point, the rally came up short.
Although Mont Alto held an edge in hitting percentage, the biggest factor in the outcome was the service line. The visitors compiled 17 aces, while New Kensington notched just three.
With only six players healthy for PSU New Ken, Kaylea Flick (Murrysville, Pa/Franklin Regional) paced the attack with eight kills and two aces, while Brittany Kotvas (Pittsburgh, Pa/Plum) added five kills. Additionally, Cora Rejniak (Gibsonia, Pa/Deer Lakes) netted a team-best 11 assists, and Lindsey Hessom (Leechburg, Pa/Kiski Area) chipped in with seven. Defensively, Bethany Baney (Apollo, Pa/Kiski Area) contributed seven digs, while Erin Tumas (Vandergrift, Pa/Kiski Area), Kotvas and Hessom each had six.
For Mont Alto, Rachel Manikowski and Courtney Stump tied for the team-lead with seven kills, while Muse produced 16 assists, five aces, and nine digs, each of which were team-high marks.
Penn State New Kensington returns to action on Sunday, as the Lions travel to play Penn State DuBois at 2 p.m.
Written by Sean Meyers