Volleyball division hopes dashed at home

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Volleyball division hopes dashed at home

Junior right side hitter Ashley Taylor prepares to serve against IU East last Friday in the Student Center Gym. The Pioneers lost the heart breaker 2-3.

Junior right side hitter Ashley Taylor prepares to serve against IU East last Friday in the Student Center Gym. The Pioneers lost the heart breaker 2-3.

Photo by Sam Robinson | Point Park Athletics

Junior right side hitter Ashley Taylor prepares to serve against IU East last Friday in the Student Center Gym. The Pioneers lost the heart breaker 2-3.

Photo by Sam Robinson | Point Park Athletics

Photo by Sam Robinson | Point Park Athletics

Junior right side hitter Ashley Taylor prepares to serve against IU East last Friday in the Student Center Gym. The Pioneers lost the heart breaker 2-3.

Written By Dara Collins, Co-Sports Editor

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The Pioneer volleyball team completed a road sweep before returning home last weekend to fight for first place in its division and play in the 10th annual Volley for Vision event.

The team played one of its most important games of the season last Friday (Oct. 27) against Indiana University (IU) East.

Point Park was a single match behind IU East and could steal the River States Conference (RSC) East Division title with Friday’s win plus two more.

The Pioneers’ energy was evident in the first set. Their cheers echoed throughout the Student Center Gym, and the team celebrated after nearly every point. Point Park stole set one 25-14.

“I think for the first time this season, I’ve seen a real fight and a real fire in  them,” assistant coach Bridget Bielich said. “I think that was something that I was excited to see finishing out this conference because we’re going to need that fight and that fire going into the conference tournament.”

IU East answered with a 25-16 win of their own to tie the match, but Point Park once again gained the lead after a close set three.

Trailing 2-1, the Red Wolves began their comeback and won set four to tie the match for a second time.

The nail-biting fifth set tied at 5-5, 6-6, 7-7, 9-9, 10-10 and 11-11. Point Park led 14-13 at match point and looked to put the ball down when IU East’s libero picked up the dig and sent the ball back over the net to an empty area on the Pioneers’ side.

The set was tied again at 15-15 until the Red Wolves claimed the final two points to win 17-15.

“I think we played up to their level,” defensive specialist Jordan Dixon said. “It was a little rocky in sets two and four, but I think we still fought hard.”

The victory clinched IU East’s division title, and will subsequently host the RSC Tournament on Nov. 10 and 11.

“I just think we didn’t have that relentless pursuit and we didn’t push ourselves to our full potential,” freshman Camryn LaMonaca said.

The teams were neck and neck in kills. Point Park put up 46 to IU East’s 47. Junior Ashley Taylor led the attack with 18 kills, and libero Morgan Dangelo picked up the match-high 18 digs. Middle hitter Destiny Tucker played big at the net and totaled eight blocks.

The Pioneers played their second match of the weekend last Saturday against Ohio Christian University (OCU). The match marked the 10th annual Volley for Vision event.

Fans could purchase tickets for a basket raffle, and all proceeds benefitted Team Cassie of the Pittsburgh Foundation. Cassie Bruno, head coach Mike Bruno’s daughter serves as the inspiration for organization.

Team Cassie presented its first grant, a $1,000 donation to the Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children, between sets two and three. Bruno expressed his gratification that the first grant went to the school his daughter attended from the age of three until kindergarten.

Following the match, Volley for Vision included a new element this year. The Pioneers conducted a free special needs volleyball clinic.

The Pioneers defeated OCU 25-19, 15-25, 25-23 and 25-15.

Tucker recorded a career-high 17 kills, Taylor followed with 11 and junior Erica Gumz with ten. Three Pioneers also reached double digits in digs. Dangelo led the way with 18, and juniors Meg Reineke and Dixon came in second with 13 each.

“I think we did really well with communication again, but I just think we didn’t have that passion that we played with yesterday,” LaMonaca said.

The Pioneers first win of the week came from a sweep at West Virginia Tech last Tuesday, winning 25-23, 25-14 and 25-22.

The Golden Bears could not top power hitters Taylor and Gumz who tied for the match-high with 13 kills each. Taylor completed a double-double with ten digs.

The Pioneers stand at 19-13 overall and 9-6 in the RSC. After senior night at home Tuesday against Carlow, they close out their regular season this Saturday at non-conference Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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