ALTOONA, Pa. – No. 4 seed Penn State Altoona women's volleyball secured a win in Wednesday night's Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference Tournament first round match in the Adler Auxiliary Gym, sweeping No. 5 Franciscan University 3-0 to advance to the next round of the playoffs.
Penn State Altoona (12-11) will now move on to the semifinal round of the AMCC Tournament, where they will face No. 1 seed Penn State Behrend this Saturday, November 9 at 2:00 p.m. in Erie.
The Lady Lions topped Franciscan (13-14) in a match featuring plenty of long rallies and hustling plays. Penn State Altoona won in three sets by scores of 25-19, 25-19, and 25-16.
Emily Bryan (Waynesboro, PA/Waynesboro) recorded a double-double, leading the team in assists with 12 while contributing 14 digs. She also led all players in the match with five service aces, and she chipped in one block assist.
Lauren Diller (Chambersburg, PA/Chambersburg) and Lydia Mock (Alum Bank, PA/Chestnut Ridge) tied for the team lead in kills, recording nine kills apiece. Diller also had 10 digs and two block assists, and Mock finished with 13 digs and one ace.
Sara Russo (Lebanon, PA/Cedar Crest) posted five kills and two block assists, and Jenna Bauer (Ebensburg, PA/Central Cambria) had four kills, one block assist, and one ace while amassing a match-high 18 digs.
Alexis Cannistraci (Tyrone, PA/Tyrone) led all players in the match with three total blocks, recording one solo block and two block assists, and she added a pair of kills. Velanna Skripek (Moshannon, PA/Bald Eagle) also finished with two kills.
In the first set, Franciscan worked its way out to a hard-fought 9-6 lead after several long rallies. Following a timeout, Penn State Altoona reeled off an 11-1 run to jump into the lead, getting two aces from Bryan, kills from Bauer and Russo, and a block by Diller and Russo during that run. Franciscan responded by closing the gap to two points, 20-18, with an 8-3 run. But Penn State Altoona used three Franciscan errors, a Moran ace, and a Cannistraci kill to help close out the set.
Franciscan again got out to a lead early in the second set, as the Lady Barons opened the game by outscoring Penn State Altoona 6-2 in the first eight points. The Lady Lions came back to tie the score and later took a 9-8 lead on Cannistraci's solo block. That block helped spark a 9-2 run for Penn State Altoona, turning its one-point lead into an eight-point advantage. Later, Bauer's ace and back-to-back kills from Mock and Diller gave the Lady Lions a 24-17 lead, and another kill by Mock helped finish off Franciscan in the second set.
Penn State Altoona shook off a 2-0 deficit early in the third set to eventually build a 7-3 lead. The Lady Lions continued clicking, and they took their largest lead of the set when Bauer's kill gave her team a 21-12 advantage. Up 22-16 late in the set, Penn State Altoona closed things out with a Cannistraci kill, a Moran ace, and a Franciscan attack error.
Next, Penn State Altoona women's volleyball will make its first AMCC Tournament semifinal round appearance since the 2017 season. To earn a berth to Sunday's conference championship match, the Lady Lions will need to take down top-seed and weekend host Penn State Behrend.
Penn State Altoona suffered a 3-1 loss at Penn State Behrend on Saturday, September 28 in Erie. It was the Lady Lions' first AMCC match of the season, and it was very tightly-contested, with Behrend pulling out a 25-21, 27-25, 29-31, 28-26 victory.