Women’s Volleyball Loses Regular Season Finale 3-0 to Pitt-Bradford

Photo: Seniors #1 Nicole Kiser, #6 Kaitlin Cassaday, and #10 Kelsey Bristol were recognized alongside family during Saturday's pre-match Senior Day ceremony.
Photo: Seniors #1 Nicole Kiser, #6 Kaitlin Cassaday, and #10 Kelsey Bristol were recognized alongside family during Saturday's pre-match Senior Day ceremony.

ALTOONA, Pa. – Penn State Altoona women's volleyball closed out its regular season schedule on Saturday afternoon in the Adler Arena, falling 3-0 to Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference opponent Pitt-Bradford.

Despite staying competitive in each set, the Lady Lions (8-17, 5-4 AMCC) were swept 25-23, 25-18, 25-21.

On Penn State Altoona's Senior Day, the Lady Lions' three senior players each made significant contributions for their team. Kelsey Bristol (Troy, PA/Troy) had a team-high 10 kills while adding five digs and one block assist. Kaitlin Cassaday (Bel Air, MD/Bel Air) had a match-high two service aces while chipping in four kills and three digs. Nicole Kiser (Altoona, PA/Bishop Guilfoyle) was second on the squad in digs with eight.

Meanwhile, Emily Bryan (Waynesboro, PA/Waynesboro) put up a team-high 12 assists while adding five digs, three kills, and one block assist, and Lauren Moran (Johnstown, PA/Westmont Hilltop) recorded nine assists and five digs. Kaila Clawson (Altoona, PA/Altoona) led Penn State Altoona in digs with 11.

Alexis Cannistraci (Tyrone, PA/Tyrone) finished with eight kills and two block assists, and Eden Taddei (Hollidaysburg, PA/Hollidaysburg) added three kills and a block assist. Paige Burk (Claysburg, PA/Claysburg-Kimmel) contributed two kills and one block assist.

In the first set, Pitt-Bradford (17-12, 7-2 AMCC) started out on a 10-4 lead, but Penn State Altoona reversed the momentum by reeling off an 12-5 run to grab a 16-15 advantage. During that run, the Lady Lions got aces from Bryan, Bristol, and Taddei, as well as a pair of kills by Cannistraci and one kill each from Bryan and Bristol. Later, a kill by Burk gave Penn State Altoona a two-point lead, 22-20. But Pitt-Bradford rallied to end the set on a 5-1 run.

Penn State Altoona got off to a better start in the second set, staking out a 5-3 lead with the help of two Bristol kills and Cassaday's kill and ace. But this time, it was Pitt-Bradford who went on a big run to turn the momentum in their favor. The Lady Panthers embarked on a 16-4 run to build a 19-9 advantage midway through the set. Penn State Altoona got as close as six points, but Pitt-Bradford was able to close out the set in their favor.

In the third set, Penn State Altoona broke a 10-10 tie with back-to-back kills from Cassaday and Bristol. Later, Cannistraci's ace, Cassaday's kill, and a Pitt-Bradford error helped the Lady Lions to a three-point lead, 20-17. But Pitt-Bradford rallied for another run, outscoring the Lady Lions 8-1 the rest of the way to take the set and clinch the match win.

Next up, the Penn State Altoona women's volleyball team will enter the AMCC Tournament as the fifth seed in the standings. The Lady Lions will travel to face fourth-seeded La Roche College in the first round of the conference tournament on Wednesday, October 31 at 7:00 p.m.