State College, Pa. - The resurgence of Lady Lion Volleyball took a total team effort and several players stood out as some of the best in the game. Senior Lauren Nietz (Coaldale, Pa.), sophomore Samaya Hornsby (Richmond, Ca.) and freshman Alessandra Banta played their part in Hazleton's 15-10 overall record and helped lead the squad to their first postseason appearance since 2013. Their efforts were recognized earlier this week with all three earning Penn State University Athletic Conference honors in the women's volleyball eastern division.
#15 Lauren Nietz: First Team All-Conerence - Libero
Playing in her first season, the senior stepped in an had an immediate impact on the court. Nietz engineered the defensive effort on the court and excelled in the libero position. The senior ranked second in the PSUAC and led the eastern division with 420 digs, tallying 5.38 digs per set. Nietz totaled double-figures in the category in 19 of 23 matches played and set a career mark of 45 digs on September 30 vs. Penn State New Kensington. In addition to her prowess on defense, Nietz led the squad with 65 service aces, a mark that ranked fourth overall in the PSUAC.
#6 Samaya Hornsby: First Team All-Conference - Outside Hitter
Hornsby led the Lady Lions in kills and hitting percentage, notching the fourth highest kill total amongst all players in the PSUAC eastern division. Her 2.01 kills per set were a team high but the sophomore hitter performed well in all areas on the court. Hornsby ranked second on the squad in digs with a total of 206 while registering the seventh most aces in the PSUAC with a mark of 56. On September 18, the sophomore earned player of the week honors in the PSUAC, leading Hazleton to a pair of wins during that stretch and set season highs on September 30 with a 15 kill effort and nine service aces on the October 18 win over Penn State Scranton.
#11 Ally Banta: Eastern Division Newcomer of the Year and First Team All-Conference - Setter
Banta made good impressions on opponents right from the start. Her breakout performance came on September 9 when she tossed 27 assists in a 3-0 sweep at the King's College of New York and from that point on, the freshman was off and running. Banta's 4.42 assists per set were the second most in the PSUAC and her 376 total assists were the fifth highest total in the entire PSUAC. The freshman recorded double-digit totals in assists on 17 occasions in 2018 including a season high 36 assists in Hazleton's October 15 win over Penn State Schuylkill.