McKeesport, PA. – The Penn State Greater Allegheny Volleyball team (18-11, 8-4) began their first-ever run in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association National Tournament on Thursday when they faced #1 Cincinnati-Clermont. PSUGA fought hard throughout the morning, but couldn’t find a way to overtake the Cougars falling 3-0 and moving to 0-1 in USCAA National Tournament Pool Play.
PSUGA stayed within striking distance as Cincinnati-Clermont held a 12-6 lead in the early part of set one. However, an 8-0 run put the Cougars ahead 20-6 and they went on to win the first set 25-8 and take a 1-0 lead. Set two started the same way set one ended with Cincinnati-Clermont going on an 8-1 run and putting PSUGA in a hole. Cincinnati-Clermont would extend their lead to 20-6 late in set two and went on to take a 2-0 lead winning the second set 25-10.
Being down 2-0 and needing to win a set to stay alive, PSUGA barred down and competed with one of the top teams in the nation. The two teams traded the first 19 points of the third set until Cincinnati-Clermont had a 10-9 lead. The Cougars would then extend that lead to 16-10. It looked like they would once again run away with the set; however, PSUGA dug deep and went on a 7-1 run tying the set at 18-18 late. The battle would continue until the score was 24-24 and PSUGA forced a win-by-two scenario.
While PSUGA would have most of the offensive opportunities during the scenario, it would go for not as two straight attack errors gave Cincinnati-Clermont the 26-24 third set win and a 3-0 defeat of PSUGA. Despite being swept, PSUGA started showing confidence at the end of the final set and showed they can compete with anyone in this tournament.
Leading the way was sophomore Sueriah Timsah (Mesquite, TX./West Mesquite HS) who was tied for the team lead with four kills on 27 total attacks and led the defense with seven digs. Kaylee Holtzman (McKeesport, PA./McKeesport HS) added four kills of her own while Juliana Brill (Mount Jackson, VA./Stonewall Jackson HS) had six digs. Brill and Andrea Ghiloni (Granville, OH./Granville HS) led the passing attack with five and six kills respectively.
The loss drops PSUGA to 0-1 in USCAA National Tournament Pool A Play as they end their first day of competition. They will matchup with PSU-Beaver on Friday at 9:30 a.m. with a chance to make the USCAA National Tournament Semifinals later that night. The top two teams from each pool will make the semifinal round and compete for the USCAA National Championship on Saturday, November 9th, at 1:00 p.m.
PSUGA returns to action on day two of the USCAA National Tournament when they take on Penn State University Athletic Conference rival PSU-Beaver at 9:30 a.m. Follow along on our social media sites for full coverage of day two of the tournament.