Croup’s Corner – Turn page on tough weekend finale

Written By Josh Croup, Sports Columnist

The volleyball team played eight sets over the weekend, winning their first five. They only should have played six.

Point Park earned a three-set sweep of Midway University Friday night, winning 25-16, 25-11 and 25-17. It was a quick win that saw the Pioneers win their third River States Conference (RSC) contest in a row.

That same night, Asbury University swept nearby Carlow University to set up Saturday’s battle of the winning streaks.

Asbury’s win over Carlow was its third in a row as the Eagles remained undefeated in RSC play.

One team was walking out of the Student Center gym Saturday with their winning streak in tact.

That team was not Point Park.

The Pioneers won the first set 25-17 and was cruising in the second set, leading 21-17. Then the conference-leader in kills, Ashley Taylor, landed wrong on her left ankle while coming down from a block attempt.

It wasn’t necessarily unfamiliar territory for Point Park when Taylor left the game. She injured that same left ankle in practice recently and missed two games leading up to the weekend.

The Pioneers hung on to win set two and was on track to win set three. It was almost a six-set weekend. They held a 22-18 lead in the set, but Asbury rallied with seven unanswered points to take the set.

Point Park exchanged blows with Asbury during the fourth set and needed one point to win the game. The Pioneers had a match point in the set, up 24-23, but Asbury came up with three straight points to force a fifth set.

The Eagles carried their momentum to win the fifth set 15-8.

The games were part of Point Park’s alumni weekend. Several recent alumni of the team were in attendance to watch the Pioneers host Asbury after playing in the annual alumni game that morning.

The recent grads showed their support of the current players, with several extending words of encouragement post game.

One of those was Lindsey Oberacker, who was in town for her Pioneer Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

“Those girls are talented,” Oberacker said. “I was just talking to Morgan [Dangelo] and I said ‘Just stay strong, don’t forget there’s two bids and you guys will have one.’ I think they’ll be fine.”

The season is young, with Point Park’s record in conference play standing at 3-3 after the weekend. The bids Oberacker referred to are for the national tournament.

Point Park has earned one of the two bids, awarded to the conference tournament champion and regular season champion, each of the last three years.

There are 10 conference games left on Point Park’s schedule after Saturday. If they can turn the page on this weekend and use it as a learning opportunity, the new Hall of Fame inductee’s words will reign true.
They’ll be fine.