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Volleyball rebounds on road after home opener

Junior+right+side+hitter+Ashley+Taylor+sets+the+ball+to+her+front+line+at+the+volleyball+team%E2%80%99s+home+opener+last+Tuesday+against+Pitt-Johnstown.+The+Pioneers+trailed+2-0+before+forcing+a+fifth+set+and+dropping+the+match.
Junior right side hitter Ashley Taylor sets the ball to her front line at the volleyball team’s home opener last Tuesday against Pitt-Johnstown. The Pioneers trailed 2-0 before forcing a fifth set and dropping the match.

Junior right side hitter Ashley Taylor sets the ball to her front line at the volleyball team’s home opener last Tuesday against Pitt-Johnstown. The Pioneers trailed 2-0 before forcing a fifth set and dropping the match.

Photo by Gracey Evans

Photo by Gracey Evans

Junior right side hitter Ashley Taylor sets the ball to her front line at the volleyball team’s home opener last Tuesday against Pitt-Johnstown. The Pioneers trailed 2-0 before forcing a fifth set and dropping the match.

Written By Dara Collins, Co-Sports Editor

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Fans packed the Student Center Gym for the volleyball team’s home opener last Tuesday, and the Pioneers continued to compete in their third weekend road tournament in a row.

Point Park hosted NCAA Division II University of Pitt-Johnstown (UPJ) last Tuesday, Sept. 5.

The Pioneers took the lead early in set one, but UPJ battled to take the set 27-25. The Mountain Cats’ momentum carried to set two as they won 25-14. The Pioneers gained control in sets three and four to win 25-18 and 25-23 to tie the match. UPJ then claimed victory in the fifth set 15-8.

Although Point Park out-killed UPJ 60-56, the Pioneers failed to gain the advantage in the fifth set.

“Both teams fought hard, and I don’t think it was that we couldn’t finish,” junior Erica Gumz said. “I just think that they had the better ball control at that time, and we just fought as hard as we could.”

Junior Ashley Taylor owned the net with the team-high of 25 kills. Outside hitters Meg Reineke and Gumz also climbed to double digits with 12 and 10 kills respectively. Sophomore setter Julia Menosky racked up 41 assists. Libero Morgan Dangelo led the defense with 17 digs.

The Pioneers traveled to Ohio to play a total of four matches at the Shawnee State Fall Classic last Friday and Saturday.

The first match of the weekend against Indiana Institute of Technology kicked off a series of sweeps for the Pioneers.

“We went into it with the mentality that we need to be stronger as a team and have more team chemistry, and I think us having that made us basically unstoppable,” freshman Jazlyn Rozier said. “It was like a relentless pursuit.”

Point Park only needed three sets to close out the first match, 25-17, 25-18 and 25-21.

The trio of Gumz, Reineke and Taylor led the Point Park offense yet again with nine, eight and seven kills, respectively. Reineke, Taylor and middle hitter Savannah Dishman controlled the net with two solo blocks each.

Point Park moved on to sweep host Shawnee State University for the second time this season 25-18, 25-17 and 28-26.

Menosky dished out 45 assists to her attackers as Taylor, Reineke and Gumz continued to dominate the net.

“I just communicate with my setter, Julia,” Gumz said. “She is a phenomenal setter, and the more I am able to communicate, the better I am able to do my job.”

Dishman and Rozier also chipped in six and three kills. Dishman recorded three service aces while Dangelo and Taylor added two each.

A match against Montreat College kicked off day two of the Fall Classic. The previous matchup between Point Park and Montreat ended in a loss for the Pioneers, but the Pioneers defeated the Cavaliers 25-17, 25-18, and 25-12 to claim their third sweep of the tournament.

Taylor counted 11 kills, and Rozier sneaked her way to the top two with eight kills. Rozier also recorded the team-high of five block assists.

“I wanted the ball,” Rozier said. “I was like ‘Give me the ball. I’m ready to hit. If you can’t rely on anyone else, you have me.’ So I kind of just allowed my setter to know that I can do it and I will do it.”

The sweep streak ended with the final match of the weekend. Point Park faced (RV) Union College in a tournament earlier this season and won after five sets. This time, the Bulldogs closed the Pioneers out in four sets.

“I think we took the game as an advantage because we already beat them, so having that mindset was kind of like going through the motions instead of playing our game,” Dangelo said.

The Bulldogs led the match 2-0 before the Pioneers battled to win set three 25-22. Union then took set four 25-21 to win the match.

Union collected 58 kills to Point Park’s 47. It was Reineke’s turn to lead the team with 11 kills while Menosky held down defense with 14 digs.

The Pioneers closed out the weekend with an improved record of 8-6. The team remains on the road for its next game at Washington and Jefferson College on Sept. 13 and begins conference play on Sept. 15 at Indiana University East.

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