Hazleton, Pa. - The Nittany Lions kicked off the 2022-23 regular season with a bang on Thursday night, topping Trinity Washington University in straight sets. Six new starters on the court for Hazleton put the visitors away in swift fashion, improving Hazleton's record to 1-0 with scores of 25-7, 25-5 and 25-4.
Hazleton's new faces were dominant in their Nittany Lion debuts. The Lions trailed briefly in set one but after shaking off some early jitters, Hazleton reeled off 22 of the next 25 points. Freshman Jadyn Hooper (Mt. Top, Pa.) closed out set one with 12 straight points from the service line, then continued with nine consecutive points to lead off the second frame and setting up the Lions for a quick victory. Hooper turned in a game high seven aces over that stretch of 21 points and collectively, the Lions totaled 26 aces with sophomore Rebecca Dzuranin (McAdoo, Pa.) and freshman Mackenzie Riccardi (Boonton Twp., Nj.) adding six aces a piece. Riccardi added a game-high 17 assists from the setter position, finding freshman Rachael Gerfin (Kingsley, Pa.) for a team-best six kills to lead the offense.
Next up: Hazleton will look to keep the ball rolling and continue to gain experience as the conference season approaches. The Lions will welcome Clarks Summit University to the Dr. Thomas M. Caccese Gymnasium on Monday, September 12 at 7:00 p.m. for their second non-conference match of the season.