Hazleton, Pa. - The Lady Lions battled Penn State University Athletic Conference opponent Lehigh Valley on Wednesday night, looking to move past the .500 mark in the conference standings. Both squads went back and forth throughout the match but in the end it was Lehigh Valley's service and attack efforts that gave them the edge, leading to a 3-1 victory over the Lady Lions. Hazleton would battle back after going down by two sets, winning a wild third frame but Lehigh Valley would run away with the final set to take the match.
Ebony Sanders peppered the Lady Lion defense with 44 attacks, registering a game high 20 kills and nine service aces for Lehigh Valley. Teammate Bobby Tubs dished out 25 assists and seven aces while Kate Waskowitz added six kills and seven aces of her own.
Hazleton sophomore Damaris Ayala (Berwick, Pa.) turned in a double digit assist effort of her own, tallying 10 dimes and adding three service aces to lead the Hazleton offense. Freshman Chelsey Dominguez (Bronx, Ny.) led Hazleton with four kills while sophomores Erin Schmick (Emmaus, Pa.) and Kiana Lukoskie (Trevorton, Pa.) each added three kills of their own.
Moments that mattered
Long runs create separation for Lehigh Valley
Hazleton looked evenly matched throughout the action and led at one point or another in each of the first three sets, but Lehigh Valley used a strong service effort to produce long runs in each of the three sets won by the visitors. After a 5-0 run by the Lady Lions evened the match at 15-15 in set one, Kate Waskowitz took to the service line for Lehigh Valley, reeling off five aces and producing a 7-0 stretch that led to a 1-0 advantage in the match. Sets two and four would see similar runs by the visitors who seemed to dial in the serve when they needed it the most. Lehigh Valley would tally a 16-3 scoring stretch in the second stanza and seal Hazleton's fate with separate runs of seven, nine and eight points in the finale that saw Sanders and Tubs combine for eight services, claiming the match with 25-6 win over the Lions.
Hazleton staves off elimination
Facing a possible 3-0 sweep, the Lady Lions refused to crack under the pressure. Hazleton took advantage of 15 Lehigh Valley miscues to build a 23-21 advantage but this set was far from over. Both squads would trade shots for the next 22 points but Hazleton would remain resilient. Clutch kills from junior Hailey Trasacco (Hamden, Ct.) and Erin would keep the Lady Lions in contention until a pair of Lehigh Valley errors gave Hazleton the coveted two point advantage and a 34-32 win in set three.
Hazleton remains at home for their next contest, taking on King's College on Friday, September 29 at 6:00 p.m. in the Dr. Thomas M. Caccese Gymnasium. Hazleton will follow up Friday's non-conference match with a tri-meet at Cedar Crest College where Hazleton will face Penn State DuBois and have a second crack at Lehigh Valley.