Hazleton falls 3-1 in I-81 battle with Wilkes-Barre

Tina Beiland sets a ball to her teammates.
Tina Beiland sets a ball to her teammates.

HAZLETON, Pa - Penn State Hazleton nearly knocked off local rival Penn State Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday night in the Dr. Thomas M. Caccese Gymnasium, but ultimately fell 3-1 (17-25, 25-21, 15-25, 13-25). The Lions (1-11, 0-6 PSUAC) used a streak of momentum to win their first set in ten matches, but couldn't keep it in their favor as Wilkes-Barre pulled away in the third and fourth sets.

Junior Tina Beiland (Philadelphia, Pa.) led the Lions with six kills and five aces. Beiland also added 11 digs for Hazleton's defense, while freshman teammate Hailey Trasacco (Hamden, Ct.) dug a team-best 14 attacks. Junior Miranda Dunne (Montrose, Pa.) added 10 digs of her own to go along with a team-high five assists.

After being tied 3-3 in the first set, Wilkes-Barre used a 9-0 run to grab the 12-3 advantage. The Lions would then take 11 of the next 17 points to pull away, but Hazleton battled back with an 8-1 spurt during a Beiland serving run. However Hazleton wasn't able to draw close enough, as Wilkes-Barre took the early 1-0 lead after a 25-17 win. 

The second set took a sharp turn in Hazleton's favor, as a 7-5 lead quickly turned into a 14-8 advantage for the hosts. Sophomore Cheyenne Comfort led a run to help the Nittany Lions go up 19-11. Wilkes-Barre took the momentum back with a 9-1 run of their own to tie the set at 20-20, but two Wilkes-Barre errors sandwiched around a kill gave Hazleton a 22-21 lead. Trasacco threw in an ace before two Wilkes-Barre errors gave the Lions a 25-21 set two victory and evened the sets at 1-1.

From there it was all Wilkes-Barre as mid-set runs allowed them to pull away. Kaylee Kotulski had a match-high 10 kills and seven aces while teammate Deanna Thomas dished out 26 assists.

NEXT UP: Hazleton heads on the road to take on Davis College on Thursday, September 24th at 6:00 p.m. in Johnson City, NY. The Lions look to even the season series at one apiece after falling to the Falcons, 3-0, on September 14th.