MIDDLETOWN, Pa. - The Lions had a tough go of things against the visiting Crusaders of Alvernia on Thursday night, Sept. 15. Penn State Harrisburg sandwiched a strong second outing between two sloppy performances in the first and last games of the match and dropped the contest 25-13, 25-21 and 25-14.
Alvernia was strong to start game one, racking up an early 6-1 lead before Head Coach Bob Creason burned a much needed timeout. The quick break helped his women immediately after, as they settled down enough to score twice, but eventually the Crusaders pulled out to an 18-5 advantage and never looked back. In game two however, the blue and white looked like a completely different team.
The Lions struck first in the second and kept things close throughout. They quickly took a 9-8 lead and were right in the thick of things with the game tied at 14 a few moments later. From there, the visitors went on a timely 3-0 run and Creason used another T.O. with his squad down 17-14. Penn State Harrisburg answered with a 5-3 run of its own that brought the deficit to one, but Alvernia did just enough down the stretch to hold off the home team's surge and take a two games to none lead.
Game three was a classic case of everything that could go right for the Crusaders did, while everything that could possibly go wrong for the Lions did just that. Despite scoring first for the second straight game, Creason's ladies dug themselves an early hole they were unable to bounce back from. Trailing 13-2 and 17-4 on separate occasions, the blue and white fought hard to make it respectable, showing some flashes of offense late and bringing the final score to 25-14.
Without the services of injured outside hitter Jocelyn Mitchell (Heath, OH/Heath), Penn State Harrisburg had some trouble both offensively and defensively. But even without their sophomore force, the Lions refused to go down without a fight and played harder than the final score indicates.
Freshman Maddie Daubert (Pine Grove, PA/Pine Grove) was strong in her role, recording 12 assists and digging out 15 balls. Sophomore Nicole Donelson (McKeesport, PA/McKeesport) pounded home 6 kills to lead the way on offense while another second year student in Chidere Igwe (West Orange, NJ/West Orange) added 5 of her own to go with her 7 digs. Freshman Erin Goodyear (Boiling Springs, PA/Boiling Springs) chipped in defensively with 11 digs as well.