Lady Lions rally stalls in deciding set vs. Davis College

Lauren Nietz receives serve.
Lauren Nietz receives serve.

Hazleton, Pa. - The Lady Lions rallied on Wednesday night when they squared off with Davis College in a five set showdown. Hazleton fell behind zero sets to two for the Falcons beofre taking the next two frames and forcing a deciding fifth set. Hazleton held a slim 10-8 lead in the final stanza but a four point run by the Falcons put them on top for good as Davis left the building with a 3-2 win on the Lions home court. 

Hazleton found themselves playing catchup in both the first and second sets of the evening. In each case the Falcons pulled ahead by no less than six points and kept the Lady Lions at arms distance throughout the frames for a quick two sets to none advantage. But the Lady Lions persevered and found some rhythm with the service game and passing from sophomore Damaris Ayala (Berwick, Pa.) and the power hitting from sophomore Samaya Hornsby (Richmond, Ca.). The duo combined to net six points of an eight point run by the Lady Lions in the third set to open up a 10-2 advantage in the win or go home frame and Ayala would return to serve the final three points in the seal the third session and keep the Lions hopes alive.

Hazleton turned the tables and scored on consecutive points five times to build a 13-8 advantage in the early stages of the fourth frame. The set would go back and forth until the latter portion of action when the Falcons reeled off three straight kills to close the gap to a one point deficit at 22-21 in favor of Hazleton. With a chance to tie, it was a pair of errors by the Falcon offense and a service ace by senior Hailey Trasacco (Hamden, Ct.) that pushed the match to a deciding fifth set with Hazleton erasing the 0-2 deficit following the 25-21 win in set four.

Neither gave in as the final frame commenced. Both squads traded shots until both squads were all square at 7-7. Hazleton earned a sideout and a kill by Hornsby and another ace by Ayala gave Hazleton a three point advantage, but a service error by the sophomore setter led to a five point run by the Falcons giving a two point edge back to Davis College. In the end, both teams would trade points to the finish line, giving the Falcons a slim 15-13 win in the deciding set and the match. 

Leading the way for the Lady Lions was Samaya Hornsby with 15 kills on the night. Ayala finished the evening with 11 assists and six services aces while freshman setter Alessandra Banta (Coatesville, Pa.) registered nine assists and 17 digs. Senior Lauren Nietz (Coaldale, Pa.) provided the Lions with their top defensive effort, notching 22 digs on the night.

Michaela McLeod topped the Falcon offense with nine kills while Linnea Sweeney came in just one behind Davis' top scorer with eight kills. Loryn Sanders totaled a game high 25 assists while libero Erica Stockwell added a game high 50 digs defensively.

Next up: With one more game under their belt, the revamped Lady Lions look to break into the win column on Thursday night when Luzerne County Community College comes to Hazleton. First serve set for 7:00 p.m. in the Dr. Thomas M. Caccese Gymnasium.