UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Top-seeded Penn State Brandywine could not stage a late rally as the Lions were ousted from the Penn State University Athletic Conference Volleyball Tournament semifinals by No. 3 Penn State Beaver, falling 3-2 (25-16, 12-25, 25-20, 20-25, 15-12) on Monday night at Rec Hall.
Brandywine, which was playing in its seventh-straight PSUAC semifinal, closed the year with a 17-15 record, while Beaver advanced to face Penn State Fayette in Tuesday night's championship match.
Aided by an 11-0 run midway through the opening set, Beaver took a 1-0 lead, but Brandywine evened the match at 1-1 after winning the second frame. The Lions, fueled by four blocks from Rikelle Taylor (Nottingham, Pa./Solanco), built a 15-10 edge and scored 10 of the final 12 points to claim the set with ease.
Brandywine built a 5-0 lead in set No. 3 before Beaver countered, scoring eight of the next 11 points, to knot the score at 8-8. Beaver took its first lead at 11-10 on a kill by Stephanie Stadjuhar and steadily increased the margin, pushing it to five at 21-16 following a Brandywine error. The Lions closed within three on two occasions, but a kill by Amanda Mike followed by a block from Ramiya White gave the second set to Beaver, 25-20.
Facing a five-point deficit in the fourth set and possible elimination, Brandywine chipped away before taking the lead with a run of five consecutive points, capped by a kill from Hope Coacher (Ardmore, Pa./Haverford). Brandywine maintained its lead through the remainder of the frame, using an ace by Hannah Sarafinas (Downingtown, Pa./Downingtown West) and blocks by Coacher and Taylor to send the match to a deciding fifth set.
The teams were even at 4-4, but Beaver set down the match's next six points to grab a commanding 10-4 lead. Brandywine cut the deficit as low as 13-11 following a kill by Nicolette Napoleon (Springfield, Pa./Springfield), but Stadjuhar and Brooke Tomasko tallied kills to help Beaver pull the upset.
Brandywine produced a season-best 17 blocks, with Taylor accounting for 12 with six solo and six assisted, while Coacher tallied five and Sarafinas recorded three.
Becca Civera (Boothwyn, Pa./Chichester), playing her final match in a Brandywine uniform, posted a team-high 22 digs, while Lauren Kelly (Downingtown, Pa./Downingtown East) and Julia Miles (Boothwyn, Pa./Chichester) both collected 18 and Napoleon recorded 17.
Napoleon registered 11 kills during her final match at Brandywine, while Kelly added 10 kills and Miles handed out 24 assists.