Volleyball claims first place in RSC East, starts new win streak

Women dethrone IU East for top spot


Photo by Robert Berger

Senior middle Destiny Tucker makes a serve in last year’s road matchup against Carlow University. Last weekend, the team took two conference wins against Ohio Christian University and Indiana University East. The team will look to extend their new win streak the weekend with three home games in the Student Center Gym.

Written By Dara Collins, Co-Sports Editor

Despite the snap of its winning streak, the Pioneers climbed to the top of the River States Conference (RSC) East Division last weekend.

A non-conference matchup between Point Park and University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown (UPJ) broke the six-match winning streak the Pioneers held. UPJ swept Point Park 25-12, 28-26, and 25-16. The NCAA Division II Mountain Cats held the Pioneers to an attack percentage of .074 and 19 errors.

“We saw some of our old tendencies of individualizing and kind of crawling into this hole, but that was definitely our confidence and our mindset took a hit,” Dixon said.

Senior outside hitter Jordan Dixon and senior middle hitter Destiny Tucker led the Pioneers and put down eight kills apiece. Junior setter Julia Menosky directed her front line with 21 assists.

Despite topping UPJ by 10 digs, the green and gold defense could not win on its own. Senior libero Morgan Dangelo held the team-high of 18 digs, and Menosky finished her double-double with 16 digs.

“We were getting balls up, but they just weren’t good enough to make plays off of them,” freshman defensive specialist Ashley Castelli said. “So we just need to focus on going back to basics with it, holding our platforms, getting a  nice, high ball for the setter so we can get some good kills.”

The Mountain Cats knocked the Pioneers down a rung on the ladder, but the Pioneers immediately began their return to the top last Friday with a sweep against Ohio Christian University (OCU). It was the second time the teams faced off this season, and Point Park now has a 3-0 win on its home court and the opponent’s court.

“We really just focused on our side of the court rather than stooping down to the other side,”
Dangelo said.

The Pioneers finished the match 25-14, 25-16 and 25-18 against the Trailblazers. Point Park posted 44 kills to OCU’s 24 and 16 attack errors.

Senior right-side hitter Ashley Taylor controlled the Pioneer offense with 12 kills, senior outside hitter Erica Gumz followed with 10 and middle hitters Tucker and sophomore Jazlyn Rozier chipped in seven each. The top attackers for the Trailblazers managed only five kills from two players.

Dangelo picked up 19 of the Pioneers’ 74 digs. Dixon recorded the second highest of the match with 17 digs.

The Pioneers began their return to victory on Friday and completed one of many goals set for the season on Saturday. Indiana University East sat atop the RSC East until Point Park overthrew the Red Wolves 3-1, claiming first place and victory 25-21, 23-25, 25-15 and 25-22.

“We finally played as a team, and you could definitely see the connection,” Dangelo said. “Our defense was on, our hitting was on, serve receive was okay at times and we served them off the court.”

This win is the seventh straight conference victory for the Pioneers, and Point Park has yet to play an RSC match with more than
four sets.

Although the stat sheet appeared similar in most sections, Point Park claimed its top spot with match-high numbers. Tucker threw down 16 kills from the middle to lead the team, and Taylor posted 12 kills from the right side.

Dangelo continued a strong defensive showing with 19 digs, Dixon chipped in 15 and Taylor rounded out her double-double with 10. Menosky was the fourth Pioneer with double digit digs at 11, and the reigning Setter of the Week dished out a season-high of 43 assists.

“We went 2-0 [on the weekend], but specifically with IU East, that was our biggest competition,” Dixon said. “Every single person on the team showed up, and I think that was our strength. We didn’t have anyone not doing their job, everyone was motivated and we had every single person on the team show up that day.”

The Pioneers remain in Pittsburgh for the rest of the season with the only away match taking place at city rival Carlow University. Point Park will face non-conference Mount Vernon Nazarene University on Thursday and continue RSC play this weekend.

Point Park hosts Indiana University Kokomo on Friday. The Cougars are currently on a 14-game winning streak and undefeated in conference play. The Pioneers will close out the week with a match against Cincinnati Christian University on Saturday.

“We need to all show up again just like IU East, but it’s that mentality that we’re all one,” Dixon said. “If we continue to strive for every point, every play, I think we’ll be able to beat [IU Kokomo].”

Now atop the East Division, the Pioneers continue to climb to first in the conference, according to Dixon.