COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – For the second year in a row, the Ursinus College volleyball team battled for five sets with Penn State-Berks, but couldn't hold on in a 3-2 loss (27-25, 15-25, 24-26, 6-25, 15-10) inside Helfferich Hall on Tuesday.
The Bears (4-10) were able to come away in the closer sets, but struggled to keep pace with the Nittany Lions in two of the five frames.
In set No. 1, the duo of sophomore Miranda Foster and freshman Jayme Callum led the turnaround. A kill from Callum started a 7-2 run for the Bears en route to taking the first set. Callum's kill was followed by an attack error on the Lions. Then, Foster added a kill of her own to secure three consecutive points. Foster would add another kill to give her team a 25-24 lead before a pair of Lions' errors ended the set.
Set No. 3 was even more back-and-forth, as the two sides traded points. Neither side was able to find a way to separate until Penn State-Berks (6-7) went on a 10-1 run, creating itself a 17-10 lead. Foster swayed the momentum in favor of the Bears with a kill to stop the bleeding before the Lions started another run, this time a 5-1 spurt. With the score at an uneven 21-12, coach Cecily Scavicchio took a timeout. The Bears responded with a big rally, scoring nine points in a row to pull even at 22. A pair of kills from senior Allison Raff highlighted the comeback. Freshman Paige DeAlba tipped the scoreboard to 25-24 in favor of the Bears before a Lions error ended the set, 26-24.
Ursinus did its best to replicate its third set when it came to the final frame. The Lions built a 13-7 lead before another Bears comeback attempt was mounted. Three straight kills from sophomore Kelly Piotrowicz, Foster, and senior Taylor McCartney made it a 13-10 game before the Lions ended the threat, taking the match with a 15-10 victory in the final set.
It was a different type of game for the Bears, as it wasn't just DeAlba doing most of the setting. She was sharing the duty with Piotrowicz, as the two put together 18 and 20 assists, respectively. The smaller role on the inside allowed DeAlba to show off her attacking skills, as she finished nine kills – her highest output since her collegiate debut against Albright (9/1), when she totaled 10 – to fall just one shy of a triple-double. She also led the team with a .368 hitting percentage and added 14 digs and a block.
Foster led the team with 13 kills for a hit percentage of .286. Her attacks from the middle of the net kept the Lions on their toes for most of the match. She also chipped in a pair of digs and a block as well.
Raff put together another all-around day, finishing the match with eight kills and 11 digs while also manufacturing three assists.
Junior Sydney Gonzalez led the squad with 26 digs, setting a new season high.
The Bears look to end a three-game losing streak as they travel to the center of the state to face Dickinson and Lancaster Bible on Saturday. They'll return home October 4 to face CC opponent Haverford.