Volleyball evens record after three-straight wins


Photo by Robert Berger

Sophomore Jazlyn Rozier attempts a spike against Carlow in a 2017 road game. The Volleyball team went 3-1 at the Emileigh Cooper Memorial Tournament last weekend and now have a 4-4 record.

Written By Dara Collins, Co-Sports Editor

The women’s volleyball team boasts a three-game winning streak after splitting the first day and finishing undefeated the second day of the Emileigh Cooper Memorial Tournament hosted by Rio Grande (Ohio).

The Pioneers finished 1-3 at the University of Michigan-Dearborn Early Bird Challenge to kick off the season almost two weeks ago. The women switched gears to finish 3-1 this past weekend.

“From last weekend, we really got to see a good baseline as to where were starting at [and] finally getting the chance to play somebody other than ourselves,” head coach Bridget Bielich said. “The connection between everybody is getting a lot stronger, and I think they’re starting to work better together. I think that was one of the big improvements, as well as a little bit more confidence.”

The team’s lone loss of the weekend was a five-set match to Mount Vernon Nazarene University last Friday. The Cougars came out on top after the sets bounced back and forth 25-16, 17-25, 25-14, 21-25, 15-9.

“We definitely need to work on our serve receive and once we’re able to do that, we’re able to flow through really well and connect our setters with our hitters,” senior outside hitter Erica Gumz said. “That will be very beneficial for us.”

Point Park returned to the court later that night to sweep host Rio Grande. The RedStorm fell to the Pioneers 4-25 in set one which paved the way to a three-set victory. Scores for the remaining sets were 25-22 and 25-16.

Senior right-side hitter Ashley Taylor led the offense with 11 kills while senior libero Morgan Dangelo led the defense with 18 digs. Junior setters Julia Menosky and Brittney Bianco registered 15 and 12 assists, respectively.

The team carried the momentum from Friday night’s game into Saturday and finished undefeated against Bluefield (Va.) College and Shawnee State (Ohio) University.

The Pioneers completed their second sweep of the weekend against Bluefield, topping the Rams 25-18, 25-12, 25-18.

Point Park out-killed Bluefield 47 to 24. Taylor led the way once again with 15, senior Jordan Dixon followed with ten and seniors Gumz and Destiny Tucker trailed close behind with eight and seven,

“We have a very diverse set of hitters, so we were able to throw in some shots, and we were smarter about our decisions of where to put the ball and make different plays,” Gumz said.

Taylor also commended the hitters on their variety.

“[Other teams] never knew if we were going to tip it, throw it or hit it,” Taylor said. “Messing with the other team’s mind was definitely our biggest asset.”

Point Park wrapped up its tournament appearance with a nail-biting five-set match against Shawnee State. The Pioneers were on their way to yet another sweep when the Bears responded in set three to their 2-0 deficit. Shawnee State took sets three and four, 25-20 and 27-25, forcing a fifth set.

“I think when we won the first two games, we became a little comfortable,” Taylor said. “We started off strong, but then when they started to push back mid game, we were surprised. Next thing you know, they took two sets from us.”

The Pioneers ultimately came out on top, winning set five 15-9.

“I think we all played really well together…we were able to take the competitiveness to another level because we wanted to win so bad,” Gumz said.

The Pioneer stat sheet boasted high numbers across the board. Taylor finished with a team-high 24 kills, Dixon followed with 17 and Gumz with ten. Dangelo collected 23 digs, and freshman Ashley Castelli recorded 14 of her own. Gumz and Dixon added 13 and 12. Bianco dished out a total of 52 assists as the lone setter of the match.

“Bianco really stepped up, especially in the second day when we had to go into a 5-1,” Bielich said. “I think she really did a nice job.”

Point Park hits the road on Wednesday to compete in a non-conference matchup against Mercyhurst University for the lone match of the week. The season continues next Tuesday as the Pioneers travel to Salem, W. Va., to compete against Notre Dame College and Salem International University.

“There’s definitely still lots to improve on in different aspects, but I did love what I saw of the fight that we have and the heart, so I think if we just grow with that, we’re going to be in really good shape,” Bielich said.