Two chances left for volleyball to end RSC play with wins

Fatigue, long season to blame for latest conference losses with playoffs near


Photo by Emilee Fails

Senior libero Morgan Dangelo makes a serve during the team’s Dig Pink game two weeks ago. The volleyball team will take on West Virginia University Tech and Rio Grande University this weekend in the Student Center Gym.

Written By Dara Collins, Co-Sports Editor

The women’s volleyball team has only two conference contests left before the beginning of playoffs, and they need to come together now more than ever to end the regular season on a high note.

The Pioneers have played three games per week for the last five weeks, and the trend continues this week as the team closes out regular River States Conference (RSC) play. Point Park kicked off last week’s run with city rival Carlow University.

Point Park swept Carlow 3-0, finishing with set scores of 25-15, 25-13 and 25-10. The Pioneers posted 39 kills to the Celtics’ 18. The 13 reception errors, 12 attack errors and 8 service errors from Carlow’s side of the net proved costly for the Celtics.

Eight Pioneers got their hands on a ball at the net. Senior outside hitter Erica Gumz and senior right-side hitter Ashley Taylor led the squad with nine and eight kills, respectively. Junior setters Julia Menosky and Brittney Bianco split the match with 28 assists combined. Senior outside hitter Jordan Dixon shined defensively with 11 digs, and Gumz and freshman defensive specialist Ashley Castelli followed close behind with 10 apiece.

This was the only win the Pioneers would experience for the week.

Point Park hosted Brescia University and Indiana University (IU) Southeast last weekend, and ultimately lost to both in five sets. The Pioneers have played 27 games this season and played only five matches that involved a fifth set. All but one resulted in losses.

“We would get up on leads and then we would settle and be like ‘Oh, we got this,’ and then they would come back,” Castelli said. “Then we would be losing and crack under pressure, and we wouldn’t be able to come back or fight back. We just need to work on staying ahead and just finishing.”

The Pioneers and Bearcats alternated set wins until Brescia took the final win in the fifth set. Point Park lost 20-25, 25-21, 26-28, 25-22 and 12-15.

Despite posting more kills and attacks against the Bearcats, the Pioneers’ 14 service errors hurt their chances of victory. On the flip side, senior middle hitter Destiny Tucker totaled seven of Point Park’s 13 service aces.

Four Pioneers hit double digits on the offensive including Taylor with 18 kills, Tucker with 12 and Dixon and junior outside hitter Haley English with 11 each. Setters Menosky and Bianco dished out 22 and 19 assists, respectively.

Bianco and Dixon finished the match with double-doubles. Dixon posted the team-high number for digs at 20, and Bianco added 11. Senior libero Morgan Dangelo helped the defense with 17 digs of her own.

The Pioneers were back in action the next day and seemed to be on their way to a sweep before IU Southeast forced extra points in the third set and carried the momentum through the rest of the match.

“They were playing with passion,” Castelli said. “They didn’t let any balls hit the floor. They tried their hardest every single point, and we were getting caught off guard because some people would be taking plays off. We were lacking in communication in some spots.”

English played a big game for the green and gold with 16 kills to pair with 21 digs. Dixon had 11 kills and 24 digs. Dangelo picked up the team-high 29 digs from the back row. This time, Bianco directed the offense with 24 assists and Menosky tossed out 19.

As of the beginning of the final conference play week for the Pioneers, Point Park stands at 16-11 overall and 9-4 in RSC play, ranking second in the RSC East Division.

Two contests remain this Friday and Saturday against West Virginia Tech and University of Rio Grande. The Pioneers have played both teams earlier in the season resulting in two sweeps against the RedStorm and a 3-1 victory over the Golden Bears.

“I think it’s getting towards the end of the season, and everyone is tired and school work is building up,” Castelli said. “We just want to break, but this is the time we need to come together and push even harder.”