Lions split weekend road series at Lehigh Valley and York

Alayna Welsh hits a serve from the end line.
Alayna Welsh hits a serve from the end line.

Hazleton, Pa. - The Nittany Lions took one of two matches over the weekend, moving the squad to a 5-2 record in the Penn State University Athletic Conference and an 8-4 overall record. Hazleton bested Penn State Lehigh Valley on Saturday, October 1 by the score of 3-1 before dropping three sets at Penn State York on Sunday, losing to the top seed in the eastern division for the second time this season. 

Saturday, Oct. 1 - Penn State Hazleton 3, Penn State Lehigh Valley 1

Hazleton dropped set one of Saturday's road match but rebounded nicely to secure the win.  Lehigh Valley went for 11 kills in the first set to help squeak out their first set victory but fell off in subsequent sets, totaling just 15 kills for the remainder of the match. Hazleton remained steady with their attack, getting 13 kills and four aces from freshman Sydney Mack (Baltimore, Md.) along with a seven kill outing from freshman Jadyn Hooper (Mt. Top, Pa.). Freshman setter Mackenzie Riccardi (Mt. Lakes, Nj.) led all players with 25 assists while freshman Alayna Welsh (Greencastle, Pa.) led the way with 19 digs defensively as Hazleton took sets two, three and four by scores of 25-17, 25-17 and 25-14. 

Sunday, Oct. 2 - Penn State Hazleton 0, Penn State York 3

Coming into Sunday's rematch at Penn State York, the Nittany Lions remained the only team to win a set against the 2021 eastern division champions, but Hazleton was unable to capitalize on that distinction, dropping all three sets on Sunday. The Lions battled early in the match, taking York to the wire in the first frame but ultimately fell 25-22. After the disappointing loss in the opening set, York dominated the remainder of the contest, allowing Hazleton just 18 points in the final two frames. Mack continued to pace Hazleton offensively, totaling eight kills but Hazleton was hampered by errors in the match with no Nittany Lions eclipsing a .100 hitting percentage and Hazleton combining for 15 service receiving errors. 

Next up: Hazleton is back in action on Wednesday night when the Lions look to get back in the win column at Penn State Wilkes-Barre. Hazleton defeated the Wilkes-Barre squad in four sets back on September 16 and will look to go for the season sweep with a repeat performance. First serve slated for 7:00 p.m.