Lions Split on Second Day of Northwest PA Challenge; Saunders Named All-Tournament Team

Lions Split on Second Day of Northwest PA Challenge; Saunders Named All-Tournament Team

ERIE, Pa. – The Penn State Behrend women's volleyball team defeated Thiel 3-1 and then fell to Morrisville State 3-2 on the second day of the Northwest PA Challenge Tournament on Saturday.

The Lions (4-5) posted a 25-14, 25-22, 18-25 and 25-22 against the Tomcats (5-3), while dropping two extra-point sets to Morrisville State to force a fifth set but falling 28-26, 13-25, 28-26, 24-26 and 15-9. Hannah Saunders (Elizabeth, PA/Elizabeth Forward) finished the day with 89 assists, 17 digs, 14 kills, four aces and four blocks to be named to the All-Tournament Team for Behrend.

Against Thiel, the Lions only had one error in the first set and relied on four kills from Paige Scurpa (Sharpsville, PA/Sharpsville) and Jordan Harakal (Peters Township, PA/Peters Township) to take a 1-0 lead in the match with a 25-14 win.

With the score tied at 21-all in the second set, Behrend won the next four out of five points for a 25-22 victory. Amanda Henry (Bridgeville, PA/South Fayette) and Kylie McSwaney (Greensburg, PA/Greensburg Salem) each tallied a kill while Julie Pace (Waterford, PA/Fort LeBoeuf) sent a dig into the back corner of the court for the final point and kill to help the Lions jump ahead 2-0.

The Tomcats cut the lead to 2-1, but Rachel Frye (Leechburg, PA/Kiski) tallied three of her game-high five kills in the final three points in the fourth set to help Behrend win the match 3-1 (25-22).

Frye finished with a game-high 14 kills, while Scurpa posted a double-double with 14 digs and 12 kills. Saunders tallied 38 assists for the four-set match. Meredith Snyder (Parker, PA/Allegheny-Clarion Valley) led with 16 digs, just one of four players with double-digit digs.

In the nightcap against Morrisville State, Saunders registered a career-high 51 assists to go with nine kills, seven digs and three blocks. Henry tallied a game-best 21 kills and 10 digs, while Scurpa recorded 24 digs and nine kills.

The Lions and Mustangs went point-for-point in the first set. Morrisville State had set point first at 25-24, before kills from Scurpa and Frye gave Behrend the set point. A service error knotted the score at 26-all and a kill from Megyan Merrill and an attack error gave the Mustangs a 28-26 win.

Pace served 10 straight points for the Lions in the second set to take a 22-9 lead which turned into a 25-13 victory to even the match at 1-all.

The third set was as close as the first, but with Behrend getting the first shot at taking the set. Morrisville State capitalized on back-to-back errors to win once again at 28-26.

It was the Lions turn to be on the winning end of a close set and that happened in the fourth. Coming down to the final points, Saunders and McSwaney each knocked down a kills to break a 24-all tie and win 26-24.

The Mustangs never trailed in the fifth set and held steady lead to the end, posting a 15-9 decision thanks to three kills from Merrill to give Morrisville State the five-set victory.

Behrend returns to action on Friday against Alfred at the St. John Fisher Tournament. Match begins at 5 p.m.