Clarks Summit, Pa. - Following a pair of opening weekend defeats, the Hazleton Nittany Lion Volleyball squad was back in action on Wednesday night at Clarks Summit University. Hazleton battled in sets one and three but managed to hold the lead just once in the non-conference bout, resulting in a 3-0 sweep in favor of the Defenders by scores of 25-22, 25-7 and 25-19.
Hazleton went back and forth with Clarks Summit in the opening set but with both teams knotted at 7-7, the Defenders reeled off 4 straight points including two services aces to pull ahead. The Lions kept in contention and scored seven of the final 12 points of the frame, but ultimately feel by a slim three-point margin.
All the momentum that Hazleton had gained in the tail end of the first set quickly diminished as Clarks Summit jumped out to an early set two lead with six straight scores to start the frame. A pair of kills by Hazleton's Alessandra Banta (Coatesville, PA) would stop the bleeding midway through the set although Hazleton's success was short-lived in the second. Clarks Summit would go on to tally eight straight points and take commanding 17 point lead as they cruised to a 25-7 victory in set two.
The Lions rebounded nicely in set three, getting kills from five different players in the frame, but a pair of four-point scoring runs by Clarks Summit late in the action allowed the Defenders to open up a six-point cushion and earn the three-set sweep.
Despite the loss there was solid improvement from the Nittany Lions who registered 13 kills on the night. Banta led all Hazleton scorers with five kills, three assists and seven digs. Ameerah Ensley (Stroudsburg, Pa.) added three kills while Caitlyn Williams (Brooklyn, Pa.) added a pair of assists and a team-high 10 digs.
Next up: The Lions kick off Penn State University Athletic Conference play on Tuesday, September 14 with a 7:00 p.m. match at Penn State York.