HAZLETON, Pa. - Penn State Hazleton finished their season in style, sweeping visiting Penn State Lehigh Valley, 3-0 (25-17, 25-22, 25-) in a PSUAC match on Friday night in the Dr. Thomas Caccese Gymnasium.
Hazleton (5-17, 4-11 PSUAC) ends their season winning three of their final four games, and picks up a forfeit over Penn State DuBois on Saturday after the Lions could not complete their season. Despite the late season surge, the Lady Lions will fall short of a PSUAC playoff bid.
Set one saw Hazleton jump out to a 10-1 lead on the strength of three kills from junior Tina Beiland (Philadelphia, Pa.), while freshman Hailey Trasacco (Hamden, Ct.) served seven straight points. Hazleton continued to apply the pressure, extending their lead to 23-9 while not allowing Lehigh Valley to string together more than two points in a row. The Lions wouldn't go quietly, scoring five straight points before Beiland swung the momentum back Hazleton's way with another kill. Three more Lehigh Valley points brought them within seven at 24-17, but senior Nieves Alonzo (Hazleton, Pa.) ended the set with a kill on her senior night.
Trasacco finished the night with a match-high eight kills, while Beiland added six for Hazleton. Junior Miranda Dunne (Montrose, Pa.) added a match-best five service aces and 13 assists, while Trasacco pitched in four aces of her own.
Lehigh Valley took advantage several Hazleton errors for an early lead in set two, taking an 8-4 advantage. The Lady Lions used a 10-4 run to take a 14-12 lead behind three aces from Dunne and a kill from Trasacco. The teams traded blows over the next 16 points, as Lehigh Valley ultimately knotted the score at 21-21. Two Lehigh Valley errors were followed by an ace from Alonzo to make it 24-21. Despite a point from the Lions, Trasacco found the floor with a kill to take a 2-0 lead.
A 3-0 Lehigh Valley lead in set three was quickly erased with a Trasacco kill and two Alonzo aces. A 12-5 Hazleton run made it 15-8 in favor of the hosts before Lehigh Valley captured seven of the next ten points to cut their deficit to three. Three straight errors killed the Lions' momentum, and Trasacco added an ace to give Hazleton a 22-15 lead. Leading 24-17, freshman Nathalie Contreras (Queens, NY) earned her first ace of the season on match point, giving Hazleton both the match and season sweep of Lehigh Valley.
NEXT UP: Hazleton's season draws to an end after seeing a four-win improvement over 2014. The team graduates seniors Nieves Alonzo (Hazleton, Pa.) and Aneesha Reese (Philadelphia, Pa.), but the Lady Lions will return to the court on Sept. 1, 2016.