Hazleton, Pa. - Hazleton opened up Penn State University Athletic Conference play on Wednesday night with a visit from 2018 eastern division champions Penn State Brandywine. Hazleton lost the first two sets by just seven points combined until the visiting Brandywine squad pulled away early in the third to seal up the match three sets to none over the Lady Lions who fell to 0-3 on the young season.
The Lions got hot early in set one with freshman Caitlyn Williams (Kingsley, Pa.) serving the Lions a 6-1 advantage until Brandywine turned the tides with an 18-5 run. Hazleton faced set point with the score 24-15 until junior Abby Bessoir (Dunmore, Pa.) got hot from behind the service line. Bessoir reeled off four straight aces to cut the lead to just five points but the rally would end with a timely kill by Brandywine's Brandi James.
Hazleton would hang around in set two and nearly even up the match. After trailing 8-4 early, the Lady Lions took a 12-11 lead and never trailed by more than three points in the frame. Timely kills by freshman RosaLydia Caputo (Howard Beach, Ny.) and Payton Fogarty (Kinnelon, Nj.) kept the Lions in contention late in the action and with a score 24-23, Hazleton held the serve with their sights set on tying the set only to be snuffed out once more by Brandywine.
With the match all but in hand, Brandywine cruised with eight aces to claim the final frame by double figures and exit with their first conference win.
Hazleton performed well in defeat and things are shaping up well for the young squad who has just one more non-conference game before getting the PSUAC schedule into full swing. Bessoir was on point in nearly all aspects of her game Wednesday night, tallying double digit kills, five aces and five assists to go along with four digs defensively. Caputo added four kills, a pair of blocks and six digs herself while sophomore Alessandra Banta (Coatesville, Pa.) led the squad with eight assists and seven digs.
Next up: Hazleton remains on their home court for a Friday afternoon contest with Trinity Washington University. First serve slated for 4:00 p.m. in the Dr. Thomas M. Cacesse Gymnasium.