Hazleton, Pa. - The Lady Lions (5-9, 3-6 PSUAC) and the Falcons of Davis College (3-5) looked evenly matched on Thursday night at the Dr. Thomas M. Cacesse Gymnasium as both squads traded wins the first two sets of play. Both teams traded runs in a pivotal third set, but a 6-0 run by Davis late in the frame proved costly for the Lady Lions as the Falcons took command of the match. Reeling from a difficult 25-22 defeat in the third, Hazleton failed to regain momentum in the contest and fell to the to Falcons three sets to one in their first loss on home court in 2016.
The Falcons opened up an 8-1 advantage over the Lady Lions in first set before Hazleton came storming back with an 8-3 run of their own. Led by the serving of senior Tina Beiland (Philadelphia, Pa.) and freshman Nicole Barnes (Susquehanna, Pa.), Hazleton took advantage of several Falcon miscues and a pair of kills by freshman Rachel Wall (Norfolk, Va.) to knot the score at 11. But Davis regained control as the Lady Lions fell victim to self inflicted errors and Davis opened up a commanding lead over Hazleton, edging the Lions for the opening set win by the score of 25-17.
Once again Davis took the early lead in the second set, but this time Hazleton was able to flip the tables on their opponent. The Lady Lions battled back from a 6-2 deficit to once again tie the score at 11-11, but unlike set one, the Lady Lions were able to keep pace and open up a small advantage before a four point run behind the serve of sophomore Hailey Trasacco (Hamden, Ct.) provided the Lions the boost they needed as Hazleton took a 21-15 lead. Both teams traded points to finish out the set and Nicole Barnes capped off the frame with a kill, allowing Hazleton to tie the match with a 25-18 win for the Lions.
The critical third set was even through 16 points but the Falcons took control of the set as Davis reeled off two separate runs of 6-0, the latter of which came late in the action behind the service game of Gabrielle Harvey. Down 22-14, Beiland and Barnes again answered the call from behind the service line, leading a Lions comeback to get within two points the Falcons, but Davis' Linnea Sweeny came through with a clutch kill to douse the Hazleton rally, winning the third set for Davis 25-22 giving her squad a 2-1 edge over Hazleton.
The Falcons carried that momentum into the fourth frame, out-hitting the Lady Lions nine kills to zero and consistently reeling off four and five points runs. Unable to force side outs, Hazleton fell behind 21-10, and failed to rally, dropping set four by the score of 25-10 and the match 3-1 in favor of Davis.
The Falcons were led by Loryn Sanders, who finished the night with a team high 20 assists and three service aces. Kaitlyn Schue led the hitting efforts, smashing 11 kills while libero Jamie Brown added a game high 34 digs defensively.
Rachel Wall led the Lady Lions with a team high five kills on 18 attempts with Beiland adding a pair of kills and six assists in the loss. Senior Miranda Dunne (Montrose, Pa.), freshman Shyan Cousins (Mt. Vernon, Ny.) and Nicole Barnes each reached double figures in digs with 14, 15 and 16 respectively.
Hazleton is back in action on Saturday for a three team meet with Penn State University Athletic Conference opponent Penn State Mont Alto and United States Collegiate Athletic Association adversary SUNY Delhi. The tri-meet will tip off at 12:00 p.m. when the Lady Lions face their PSUAC foe, followed by a 4:00 p.m. match with the Broncos.