Allentown, Pa. - The Lady Lions put a stop to an eight game skid on Sunday with a split at the Penn State Lehigh Valley quad meet where they played their final games of the 2016 season. Hazleton earned a four set victory over Penn State New Kensington in their first matchup of the day before falling 3-0 to Penn State Fayette who remains undefeated in Penn State University Athletic Conference play.
Match 1: Penn State Hazleton 3, Penn State New Kensington 1 (25-12, 25-13, 14-25, 25-20)
Hazleton opened up a two sets to none lead over New Kensington behind a strong passing effort from senior Miranda Dunne (Montrose, Pa.) who registered eight assists in the first two frames of the afternoon. The Lions gave little opportunity to their opponent, racking up 45 digs defensively, adding 13 kills to help build their advantage. Hazleton would falter in the third set as an eight point run by New Kensington midway through the set gave the western squad the separation they needed to close the match to 2-1. But the Lady Lions responded to the shift in momentum as freshman Shyan Cousins (Mount Vernon, Ny.) reeled off six straight points from behind the service line early in the fourth stanza to give Hazleton the early edge. New Kensington would challenge Hazleton, trying to force a tiebreaker set, but a five point run led by freshman Nicole Barnes (Susquehanna, Pa.) helped Hazleton seal the win for Hazleton.
The Lions were led by senior Tina Beiland (Philadelphia, Pa.) who supplied Hazleton with a team high eight digs, adding six assists in the winning effort. Shyan Cousins finished the match with five kills, three aces and 17 digs while teammate Nicole Barnes added four kills and a team high 19 digs. MIranda Dunne led the passing efforts for the Lady Lions, dishing out 16 assists to help get Hazleton back in the win column.
Match 2: Penn State Fayette 3, Penn State Hazleton 0 (25-13, 25-6, 25-16)
Following a win in game one of the day, the Lady Lions were held in check by the top ranked squad in the PSUAC. The Lions limited their miscues, but could not match the power attack of the Fayette front line, falling in straight sets to the undefeated Roaring Lions. Fayette used a run of 12-1 to build a comfortable cushion in set one as they captured the frame, then shifted in to high gear as they opened up 13-0 lead over Hazleton in a runaway victory in set number two. Hazleton rebounded to contest the third frame, building a 14-10 lead but as they surrendered the serve to Fayette, the Roaring Lions' caught fire behind the serve of Victoria Helmantoler. Hazleton was unable to side out Fayette as Halmantoler streaked for 13 straight points pulling away from Hazleton for a 25-16 victory to sweep the Lions in three sets.
Hazleton was led by freshman Rachel Wall (Norfolk, Va.) who totaled three kills in the loss while Miranda Dunne led the team with five assists.
Hazleton caps it's season with a win on the final day of competition but will finish outside the top six, eliminating them from postseason play. Stay tuned to psuhazletonsports.com for off-season updates and a season recap with departing players and returning Lady Lions for the 2017 season.