Hazleton, Pa. - The Lady Lions took the court for the final home game of the regular season on Thursday night, squaring off with Penn State Scranton in a game that was rescheduled from Wednesday evening. Prior to the game's start, the Lady Lions honored 5 departing players including three seniors and two players receiving associates degrees later this academic year. It was their night to shine and true to form, the Lady Lions did exactly that, coming up with a 3-0 victory over Scranton by scores of 25-21, 25-14 and 25-18.
Hazleton picked up the crucial opening frame, staving off a late rally by the visitors. The Lady Lions led by as many as six points midway through the set but as the action progressed Scranton krept back into contention to knot the score at 19 all. Fresh off a timeout, Hazleton senior Mariah Curry (Pottsvile, Pa.) came up with a key kill followed by a service ace to give the Lions some separation late in the frame leading to a 6-2 run to end the set and give Hazleton the 1-0 advantage.
The Lady Lions built off that momentum to kick off the second frame and saw continued success all the way to the finish line. Sophomore Samaya Hornsby (Richmond, Ca.) reeled off five aces to start the second set, part of a 9-0 run leaving her squad firm command. Hazleton would build a 14 point margin at one point in the set and cruise to a 25-14 win after the hot start. Now with a 2-0 lead in the match, it was business for the Lady Lions who continued to make Scranton chase from behind. Five scoring runs of three or more points ensued in what would be the final frame giving Hazleton a healthy advantage and despite a 8-1 by Scranton, the Lions would finish of the match shortly thereafter. Fittingly, it was senior and four-year starter, Hailey Trasacco (Hamden, Ct.) issuing the final blow with her sixth kill of the night to cap the festivities.
Trasacco's six kills on the evening were the second most on the evening behind a nine kill effort by Curry. Senior Lauren Nietz (Coaldale, Pa.) and freshman Alessandra Banta (Coatesville, Pa.) combined for 31 of Hazleton's 45 digs, with Banta racking up 22 assists in the win. Rounding out the top efforts for the Lions was Hornsby with three kills and a dominant effort from the service line, dropping in nine aces on the night.
Next up: Hazleton wraps up the regular season on Friday night when the squad travels to Penn State Wilkes-Barre for a 7:00 p.m match. Win or lose, the Lady Lions have secured their first playoff appearance since the 2013 season and will host the number three seed in the Penn State University Athletic Conference's eastern division on Wednesday, October 24 at 7:00 p.m.