CMU kills Pioneers’ streak at six after home opener


Photo by Hannah Johnston

Freshman Taylor Small (left) and junior Jazlyn Rozier (right) go up to block a ball against Salem University in their home opener.

Written By Dara Collins, Editor-in-Chief

The Pioneers never let the Salem University Tigers gain more than 12 points, less than half the winning amount in a set.

Just a day later, the Pioneers found themselves on the flip side and couldn’t top Carnegie Mellon University by more than 18.

“We individualized a lot that game instead of coming together and being there for each other when we needed it most,” middle hitter Jazlyn Rozier said.

The sweepers were swept.

Point Park played its first home game of the season last Tuesday against Salem University, formerly known as Salem International University. Once again boasting a successful attack percentage, the Pioneers were able to secure the victory against the Tigers quickly.

“It was our first home match,” Rozier said. “Some people had nerves, but they displayed in the right manner. Our mentality going into that game was unlike anything we’ve ever seen. We didn’t say much in time outs or before the game. Nothing needed to be said. We just did it.”

Freshman outside hitter Taylor Small experienced the nervousness mentioned by Rozier but didn’t let it affect her for long.

“Just seeing a crowd of people I knew was a little bit of uneasiness, but I got over it and just had fun,” Small said.

The Pioneers increased their record once more after sweeping by scores of 25-8, 25-10 and 25-12.

With 16 aces from six Pioneers and 36 kills from seven, the Pioneers made quick work of the Tigers.

“The energy we all had was contagious to one another,” Rozier said.

Seven proved the Pioneers’ lucky number as senior Maria Ferragonio and Small highlighted the green and gold offense with seven kills each, and senior Haley English and sophomore Ashley Castelli shined on defense with seven digs apiece.

Setters Julia Menosky and Brittney Bianco racked up 24 assists collectively. Ferragonio led the ace crew with five, English followed with four and Bianco with three.

Point Park volleyball had been heating up for roughly three weeks and had only one day to celebrate its latest win against the Tigers when No. 10 CMU handed the Pioneers their second loss of the season.

“Minor details all came together at once,” Rozier said. “In that moment, our first instinct was ‘panic mode,’ which made it hard for us to calm down and focus on our side of the net.”

This is only the second time the Tartans and Pioneers have shared a volleyball court since 2010, and CMU swept Point Park by scores of 25-16, 25-14 and 25-18.

Point Park’s hitting percentage plummeted compared to previous matches and finished at .061 with 21 attack errors glaring from the stat sheet.

Ferragonio led the Pioneers at the net and tied for the back-row lead with nine kills and 12 digs. Rozier finished behind Ferragonio with six kills, while Small and junior Camryn LaMonaca chipped in four apiece.

English recorded 12 digs from defense and Castelli picked up eight of her own. Menosky dished out 12 assists, Bianco and Ferragonio added five each.

“CMU was definitely one of our tougher games, and I think we just came in with a mix of cocky and ready to go home,” Small said. “We are looking to work on our serve receive as CMU tore ours apart.”

Now, the Pioneers have to start all over – but this time against conference opponents.

“Although this past week didn’t go as well as we’d hoped, the team has worked hard, and we are confident to work together as we begin conference play,” Ferragonio said.

River States Conference (RSC) play is now underway, and the Pioneers will play West Virginia Tech and University of Rio Grande this Friday and Saturday, respectively, at home.

Following Saturday’s match, the Pioneers will be on a road stretch until Oct. 22, for a non-conference match-up with University of Pittsburgh – Johnstown.