McKeesport, PA. – The 2019-2020 Penn State Greater Allegheny Athletic Season is upon us and the PSUGA Volleyball team kicks things off when they take on Carlow and Penn State Mont Alto at the United States Collegiate Athletic Association Tip-off Tournament on Friday. With eight returning players this season, expectations are high and PSUGA is looking for players to step into a leadership role.
PSUGA improved its win total by two games last season going (10-14, 3-7) and finished fifth in the Penn State University Athletic Conference West Division. Despite missing the playoffs, they won two of their last three regular-season games giving them momentum as they headed into the off-season.
As the start of a new season approaches, PSUGA will be relying on its returning players to get them to their goal of claiming the program’s first PSUAC playoff berth since the 2014 season. Leading the way on offense will be a trio of upperclassmen in junior Kaylee Holtzman (McKeesport, PA./McKeesport HS) and sophomores Alix Ellis (Derry, PA./Derry Area HS) and Sueriah Timsah (Mesquite, TX./West Mesquite HS).
Ellis finished sixth in the PSUAC last year with 3.08 kills/set and led PSUGA with 182 kills in 2018. She was named a PSUAC First-Team All-Conference player and a USCAA All-American Honorable Mention for her efforts. Timsah and Holtzman finished right behind her with 91 and 81 kills respectively, while Timsah finished fourth on the team with 107 digs. All three women are looking to continue their success in 2019 and give PSUGA plenty of scoring opportunities.
Helping to set up the returners will be freshmen Andrea Ghiloni (Granville, OH./Granville HS) and Nicole Caballero (Miami, FL./Florida Christian School). Both women led their high school teams to their respective championship games and look to provide PSUGA with the same competitive edge.
Each of PSUGA’s Friday opponents are looking for bounce-back years after struggling in 2018. Carlow finished the 2018 season 8-20 and 3-13 in the River State Conference, missing the playoffs for the first time since the 2014 season. PSU-Mont Alto made the PSUAC playoffs with a record of (12-13, 4-6) getting in as the #4 seed. However, they would fall to the eventual PSUAC Champions PSU-Fayette ending their season.
PSUGA is looking to turn it around against both Carlow and Mont Alto as they enter Friday’s match. In six previous match-ups with Carlow, PSUGA has a record of 0-6 including a 3-0 loss at last year’s tournament. Against PSU-Mont Alto, PSUGA sits at 2-8 and went 1-1 against them in 2018. Their previous match came on October 6th, 2018 when they fell 3-0. Ellis led the offensive efforts in that game picking up 11 kills on 30 total attempts.
Tip-off for Friday’s tournament is scheduled for 12 p.m. when PSUGA will take on Carlow. They will follow with their second match against PSU-Mont Alto at 4 p.m. Both games will be played at the PSU-Beaver gymnasium.