Volleyball hitter earns RSC Attacker of the Week, teams falls to Mercyhurst


Photo by Robert Berger

Senior Ashley Taylor spikes the ball in a 2017 game against Carlow. Taylor was named this week’s River States Conference attacker of the week after putting up 61 kills during the Emileigh Cooper Memorial tournament.

Written By Dara Collins, Co-Sports Editor

Senior right-side hitter Ashley Taylor opened the 2018 season by surpassing the 1,000-career kills milestone. Taylor continued to post team-high numbers the following weekend at the Emileigh Cooper Memorial Tournament hosted by Rio Grande.

The River States Conference (RSC) announced last Tuesday that her superior performance earned her the title of RSC Attacker of the Week for Aug. 27-Sept. 2.

“I’ve been waiting for this all season so far,” Taylor said. “I want this to be one of many this year that I earn, so I will continue to work as hard as I can to get it.”

Taylor collected 11 kills during each match on day one, 15 against Bluefield College and 24 in the five-set match against Shawnee State University. She recorded the most kills for each match except for one.

“All the time I put into the gym, and all the time I put into the little things such as eating well and mentally preparing myself just continues to help my game get stronger,” Taylor said. “I’m nowhere near where I want to be, but I’ll get there.”

The right-side hitter dominated the net once again when the volleyball team traveled to Erie, Pa. to play NCAA Division II Mercyhurst University. Taylor posted 12 kills alongside senior Jordan Dixon with 12 of her own, followed by sophomore middle hitter Jazlyn Rozier with 11.

Despite a diverse offense directed by Brittney Bianco with 40 assists, the Pioneers did not come out on top of the close match.

“I think we got very comfortable in the game,” libero Morgan Dangelo said. “One thing this year is we know that we’re a really good team, but we don’t play like we know we’re a really good team, so we’re able to let these runs go by with three points or four points, and then we dig ourselves out of a hole.”

Mercyhurst collected six points before Point Park gained its first point of the match. The Pioneers remained behind the Lakers until late in the first set before taking the lead with a 27-25 victory in set one.

The Pioneers trailed in set two before catching up to a single point deficit, but the Lakers closed out set two at 25-21. Senior middle hitter Destiny Tucker suffered an injury and did not return to the court after the second set. Mercyhurst continued to expand the gap and claimed the victory in set three 25-16.

Set four tied late in the contest at 24-24 and 26-26, but it was the Lakers who finished strong with the final two points to win 28-26. The Pioneers now hold a 4-5 record.

“We just need need to come back together, communicate more and do what we know how to do,” freshman defensive specialist Ashley Castelli said.

Dixon led the Pioneers defense with 21 digs, just one shy of the match-high 22 from Mercyhurst’s Zoe Gadomski. Dangelo picked up 15 digs from the back row.

Dangelo hopes to improve on competitiveness for the entirety of the game in future matches.

“We’re going in, we’re winning in three and then we’re getting out of that gym,” Dangelo said.

The Pioneers will begin conference play this Friday against Indiana University East at the Student Center Gym. Point Park will appear at home again on Sept. 25 to play non-conference opponent Washington and Jefferson.