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Lions Drop Two in Last Day of Regular Season

Lions Drop Two in Last Day of Regular Season

by Christina Roukas

ALTOONA, Pa. – On Saturday afternoon in the Adler Arena, the Penn State Altoona men's volleyball team closed out its regular season schedule with a pair of 3-1 losses to Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference opponents Penn State Behrend and Geneva College.

It was a special day for the Lions, who honored, celebrated, and thanked senior players Micah Brinker (Lock Haven, PA/PA Cyber) and Eric Cassaday (Bel Air, MD/Bel Air) in a Senior Day ceremony.

Match One: Penn State Behrend 3, Penn State Altoona 1

Penn State Altoona (14-11, 11-5 AMCC) started its day with a 3-1 loss to Penn State Behrend (20-7, 14-2 AMCC). Behrend won the opening set 25-19 before Penn State Altoona battled back to win the second set 26-24. However, the visitors pulled out a tight 26-24 win in the third, then won the fourth 25-16 to take the match.

In the first set, a Jared Bodsich (Red Lion, PA/Red Lion) kill got Altoona on the board, making it 1-1. Behrend proceeded to grab a 5-2 lead, but Altoona tied it up 5-5. Philip Silva (Brazil/Richard Montgomery) was on fire, scoring three kills early on in the match, including one to tie the score 6-6. Trey Sadler (Grantville, PA/Lower Dauphin) had a down-the-line hit that put Altoona behind by two, 11-9. Altoona struggled defensively, as Behrend took a five-point lead against the Lions, but Altoona kept up its hustle, and Bodisch scored a kill to keep the home team within five, 18-13. Silva's back row kill kept Altoona in the game, 20-14, and Sadler scored a kill in the corner to make it 22-17, with Brinker showing excellent reflexes for a save during the rally. However, Behrend took the first set 25-19.

Behrend came on strong in the second set with a three-point run to start, but Altoona's Jared Kish (Columbus, OH/Hilliard Darby) was hot early in the set, scoring four kills and assisting on a block over his team's first six points to help the Lions to a 6-4 lead. Bodisch scored a back row hit to put his team up by five points, 10-5. Behrend came back to make it a close set, however, and a Kish kill tied the score 23-23. Silva's kill tied things up again, 24-24, and he followed with two more kills on consecutive points to close the set 26-24 in favor of the Lions.

In the third set, Behrend took the lead, but Altoona trailed closely, and Silva scored a kill to keep his team within one, 5-4. It was a close set between Altoona and Behrend, but the Lions built a 10-8 lead, and a Silva ace later increased his team's advantage to 17-14. Behrend came back to tie the score 22-22, but Sadler's kill reclaimed the lead for the Lions. However, Behrend took the third set 26-24 after it scored four of the next five points.

In the fourth set, Behrend started with a four-point run, then capitalized on Altoona's struggle to gain an offensive flow by building an 8-2 lead. Silva's hit brought the Lions back to within three, 9-6, and a Kish solo block kept the difference at four points, 13-9. Sadler scored a kill late in the set to make it 24-16, but Behrend got a kill on the next point to win the set 25-16.

Silva led the Lions with 21 points on a team-high 20 kills and one service ace, and he also recorded 10 digs. Sadler had 11.5 points on 11 kills and a block assist, and he also totaled a team-best 12 digs while adding 10 assists. Kish also contributed 11.5 points with eight kills, a team-high three solo blocks, and one block assist.

Bodisch tied for the match-high in digs with 15, and he also buried eight kills. Baker tallied a team-best 24 assists and added five digs, and Jeremy Winter (Massapequa, NY/Massapequa) chipped in seven assists and one ace. Brinker posted eight digs.

Match Two: Geneva 3, Penn State Altoona 1

The Lions suffered another 3-1 loss in their second and final match of the day. Geneva (19-14, 13-3 AMCC) won the opening set 25-15, but Penn State Altoona bounced back to post a 25-16 victory in the second set. But the Golden Tornadoes pulled out two close wins in the next two sets, prevailing 26-24 and 27-25 to win the match.

Geneva started the first set in the lead 7-2. Altoona had a hard time getting the ball moving, but Silva's kill put the Lions within four, 7-3. A pair of back row kills from Bodisch helped lower the Lions' deficit to 9-6, but Geneva went on to establish a healthy 12-point lead, 22-10. Two aces in a row from Sadler made it 22-14, and a Silva kill put the score at 24-15, but Geneva still took the first set 25-15.

In the second set, Geneva once again took an early lead, going up 4-0. Silva got Altoona on the board with a kill, and Connor Ebersole (Altoona, PA/Bishop Guilfoyle) scored a kill to lower the deficit to two, 7-5. Avery Farabaugh (Carrolltown, PA/Cambria Heights) followed with a kill, then tied the game 7-7 with his solo block. Altoona continued its scoring streak, taking the lead on Silva's ace and increasing it to 9-7 on his kill. The Lions led by as many as nine points in the set, with Silva's kill putting Altoona one point away from taking the second set. Farabaugh's kill closed the set 25-16, with the Lions evening the match score at 1-1.

In the third set, Silva's kill helped Altoona get out to a 6-4 lead, and another Silva kill made it 8-6. Geneva came back to take a 12-9 lead, but Ebersole's tip over the net and Bodisch's kill helped tie the score 15-15. Later, Farabaugh's kill kept Altoona within one, 19-18, as did a Silva kill that lowered the Geneva advantage to 23-22. The Lions got to set point following back-to-back hitting errors by Geneva, but the Golden Tornadoes rebounded the score the next three points in a row to take the third set 26-24.

In the fourth set, Bodisch provided the Lions' first point of the set with a kill, and Farabaugh's kill put Altoona in the lead, 4-3, followed by a kill from Silvia that made it 5-3. A Bodisch ace put Altoona up by one, 11-10, but Geneva worked its way in front to lead by as many as four points. A Silva kill helped Altoona come back to tie the score 20-20, and an Ebersole tip-over gave the Lions a 25-24 lead. But Geneva used a kill and two blocks to jump ahead and take the fourth set 27-25 to win the match.

Silva finished with a match-high 26 points, tying the Penn State Altoona men's volleyball single match kills record with a match-leading 25 kills while adding one ace and 11 digs. Bodisch and Farabaugh each finished with 13 points, with Bodisch recording 10 kills, a match-high three aces, and a team-high 15 digs and Farabaugh posting 10 kills, two solo blocks, and two block assists. Ebersole had six points on three kills and a team-high three solo blocks.

Sadler put up a team-high 24 assists while adding 11 points on eight kills, two aces, and one solo block. Winter totaled 23 assists and seven digs. Sadler and Brinker each finished with 12 digs.

With its regular season now complete, the Penn State Altoona men's volleyball will have the fourth seed in the upcoming AMCC Tournament. The Lions will host fifth seed Thiel College in a first round tournament match on Tuesday, April 5 at 7:00 p.m.