Volleyball goes 2-1 on road trip

Written By Dara Collins

Point Park added two more wins to its record and suffered their first conference loss after a series of River States Conference (RSC) matchups.

The Pioneers traveled to Circleville, Ohio on Oct. 4 and secured their eighth straight win against Ohio Christian University (OCU).

The Trailblazers could not compete with the Pioneers. Point Park’s variety of hitters and solid defense swept OCU 25-16, 25-18 and 25-19.

“It was great to win the long rallies, which are really important when it comes to momentum,” outside hitter Shiloh Simonson said via phone interview.

However, the hitters and defensive specialists were not the only contributors to a winning score.

“There was aggressive serving from the end line,” Simonson said.

Four servers recorded a total of eight aces for the Pioneers. Simonson racked up a team-high of three, Morgan Dangelo and Julia Menosky contributed two each and Nikki Inquartano added one of her own.

In addition, Emily Meng scored 24 assists, 12 digs and five kills. Simonson achieved the highest amount of digs at 13, Dangelo recorded 10 digs and Kirsten Burkes performed the lone solo block. Inquartano crushed a game-high of eight balls, followed by Ashley Taylor and Madeline Poirier, who each had six.

The Pioneers had no time for rest as they prepared for their tri-match against WVU Tech and Rio Grande.

“We’re watching film to hopefully exploit their weaknesses and come out with a win,” Simonson said.

Point Park returned to the road Saturday, Oct. 8 and traveled to Rio Grande, Ohio.

Point Park’s winning streak remained unbroken at the start of the tri-match. The Pioneers had won nine consecutive games after a 25-23, 25-16, 25-10 sweep against WVU Tech.

“We came out strong and stayed consistent,” junior defensive specialist Julianna Ross said.

The coaches commended the team on its performance against WVU Tech.

“We played a solid match against WVU Tech,” head coach Mike Bruno said via phone interview.

“The girls played really well,” assistant coach Bridget Bielich said. ”They played nice, clean, efficient volleyball.”

Meng recorded eight kills, 29 assists and 12 digs for the Pioneers. Simonson also had eight kills as well as 14 digs. Libero Morgan Dangelo held the team-high for digs at 16 and aced WVU Tech six times. The Pioneers offense came from different faces as Taylor contributed with nine kills, Inquartano with six, and Burkes with five.

But Point Park’s winning streak ended with a loss to Rio Grande.

“It was disheartening,” Bruno said. “We let an 18-10 lead in the fourth set slip from us.”

“Rio Grande is always good competition,” Bielich said. “It was a tough match. I think it’s a lot that we can learn from for the future.”

This was the third meeting between the two teams. Rio Grande took the first win at the Battle of the Boulevard tournament on Sept. 3, and Point Park countered with a win of its own on Sept. 27, during conference play. The RedStorm claimed victory once again in an arduous five-set match, 18-25, 25-22, 23-25, 25-23, 15-6.

The statistics for this match prove the Pioneers did not let the match slip without a fight. Point Park recorded 165 total attacks, and Simonson, Taylor and Madeline Poirier had 12 kills each. Meng dished out 45 assists. Each Pioneer got their hands on the ball to total 74 digs.

The Pioneers’ overall record now stands at 12-13, yet they continue to sit atop the RSC East Division with a record of 8-1.

RSC foe Cincinnati Christian is the next up on the Pioneers’ schedule on Oct. 15.

“They’re an athletic team,” Bruno said. “I think we will match up well.”

The team looks forward to another conference matchup. A new game constitutes a clean slate.

“I know I’m going to play all out for our seniors because it’s senior day,” Taylor said. “The outcome we will see, but the only team that can beat us in this conference is us.”

“We want to come out as hard as we can,” Ross said. “We will not be taking another loss. We’re going in with strong, clear minds with an important task ahead that we will accomplish.”