NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. - Despite playing competitively in the first two sets, homestanding Penn State New Kensington dropped a 3-0 match against Penn State Mont Alto on Tuesday, 25-17, 25-17, and 25-12. With the setback, New Ken fell to 3-9 overall, and 0-6 in Penn State University Athletic Conference play, while Mont Alto improved its mark to 15-4, and 6-1 in PSUAC action.
Although Mont Alto scored the first point of the opening set, New Ken notched three consecutive points to gain the upper hand. Mont Alto regained the lead as part of a 6-0 run, however, with freshman Kylee Gooding on the service line. Although the host Lions continued to battle and used their own 4-0 surge to pull within a point later in the set, Mont Alto used a 6-1 run to secure the opening set.
The second set followed a similar path, as New Ken held an early advantage at 3-0, prompting a timeout by Mont Alto. Another surge for Mont Alto changed the momentum, however, as the visitors notched five straight points to gain a 10-7 edge. Mont Alto extended the lead to 14-8 shortly thereafter, which prevented New Ken from getting into striking distance for the rest of the set.
In the final stanza, Mont Alto utilized a 9-0 run with Alyssa Roberts on the service line to establish command. Facing a 15-point deficit, New Kensington displayed its resolve by continuing to battle, but the rally attempt fell short, as Mont Alto sealed the outcome for the straight-sets victory.
Penn State New Kensington was led by senior outside hitter Kaylea Flick (Murrysville, Pa/Franklin Regional), who notched a team-best 13 kills, as well as 11 digs. Flick paced the attack by a wide margin, as junior outside hitter Janet Surma (Lower Burrell, Pa/Burrell) ranked second on the host Lions with three kills. Surma also paced New Ken with 20 digs and five service aces. Senior setter Lindsey Hessom (Leechburg, Pa/Kiski Area) orchestrated the attack with 13 assists, while sophomore libero Bethany Baney (Apollo, Pa/Kiski Area) provided 12 digs.
New Kensington aims to get back on the winning track when the Lions travel to face Kent State – Tuscarawas in a nonconference match on Saturday at noon. Mont Alto, meanwhile, remains on the road in PSUAC action, facing Penn State Greater Allegheny on Saturday at 2 p.m.
Written by Sean Meyers