Season cut short in first round of RSC volleyball tourney


Photo by Megan Bixler

Junior right-side hitter Savannah Dishman leaps to score a kill against Pitt-Johnstown earlier in the season. Dishman collected seven kills and four digs during the match on Sept. 5. The Pioneers lost 2-3.

Written By Dara Collins, Co-Sports Editor

The Pioneers ended their volleyball season on the opening day of the conference tournament last weekend.

River States Conference (RSC) East Division champion Indiana University (IU) East hosted the RSC Tournament last Friday and Saturday.

The 2017 All-RSC Volleyball Teams and Awards were presented in an award ceremony between the second and third quarterfinal matches last Friday.

Five Pioneers walked away with honors.

Junior libero Morgan Dangelo received the Champion of Character award.

“To me that says something, and I was humbled to know that I was able to be that teammate for my team,” Dangelo said.

Dangelo was also named to the All-RSC Second Team alongside first-year Pioneers Meg Reineke and Erica Gumz.

“It feels like a great accomplishment,” Reineke said in a phone interview. “I just feel like I did actually contribute to the team.”

Gumz attributed the honor to the hard work she put in as an individual and as a teammate.

“I just feel like our hard work has finally paid off, and it has been a goal of mine to win some type of award,” Gumz said, also in a phone interview. “This award just clarifies the hard work was worth it.”

Right side hitter Ashley Taylor and setter Julia Menosky had claimed RSC Attacker of the Week and Setter of the Week respectively for the first and third weeks of the season, and Menosky claimed the honor again during week seven.

The dynamic duo earned new honors and was named to the All-RSC First Team.

“I was very confident in the beginning of the season, but since I was out with an injury for a month, I didn’t expect it,” Taylor said.

Menosky was also humbled by the award.

“It is such a big honor to receive first team, and I am so happy to have received it, but I wouldn’t have gotten it without my team,” Menosky said. “I owe it all to them.”

The quarterfinal matchups continued following the ceremony, and Point Park would face off against Asbury University to end day one.

The Pioneers hosted the Eagles in September. Point Park held a 2-0 lead before Asbury claimed three consecutive matches to win the match in a five-set thriller.

This time, it was the Eagles who led 2-0 to kick off the match.

The Pioneers clung to their spot in the tournament a little longer and won a close set three 25-23. Asbury reclaimed power and closed out the set 25-17 to finish the match in four sets and send the Pioneers home.

“We just went out there like we had nothing to lose,” Gumz said. “We just wanted to play the best we could.”

The Eagles topped the Pioneers 54 kills to 48. Reineke led the offense with the team-high of 14 kills and completed a double-double with 12 digs. Freshman Jazlyn Rozier trailed by one with 13 kills. Dangelo headlined defense with 17 digs. Middle hitter Destiny Tucker totaled seven blocks.

Asbury later lost to IU Kokomo in five sets in an RSC West Division matchup in the semifinals.

The Pioneers finished their season 21-14 overall and 10-6 in the RSC.

“I’m not really going to focus on how the last game ended but how the season ended as a whole,” Taylor said. “In my opinion, we did not underachieve. We learned, and sometimes things like that have to happen for us to grow.”

Taylor looks forward to her senior season with the Pioneers.

“I’m just excited to play with the same girls again for my senior year,” Taylor said. “Next year is a new year with familiar faces, and that can be our time.”

Familiar faces were few and far between this season.

“Other than the four girls that returned this year, we had a completely new team,” Dangelo said via phone interview. “Having almost a brand new team with as much talent as we did will take some time to gel into what we want Point Park Volleyball to be – and that is greatness.”