ALTOONA, Pa. – The No. 3 seeded Penn State-Behrend defeated No. 2 University of Pittsburgh at Bradford in straight sets in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference women's volleyball semifinals Saturday hosted at Penn State-Altoona.
"We just never seemed to get into the flow of what we wanted to do today," Head Coach Tom Roof said. "We couldn't get on track and did not get the blocks we needed to set up our offense."
"But to earn a bye to the conference semifinals with a team this young is a tremendous accomplishment for these players. I believe the two best teams in the conference met tonight, and it's a shame it has to be us going home, but the future is going to be just amazing with this group," Roof concluded.
The loss brings an end to a successful Panthers' season in which they earned a share of the regular season title with a 7-2 mark in AMCC play. Pitt-Bradford ended its regular season on an eight-game winning streak.
Penn State-Behrend controlled the offense for much of the semifinals match, taking the first set by a score of 25-14.
The Lions continued on and got off to a strong start in the second as they jumped out to an early 4-0 lead.
Down 15-7, the Panthers mounted a comeback and cut the deficit to just one, 16-15, on an Erin Fagan service ace.
Pitt-Bradford kept the deficit close until the Lions grabbed three-straight points and earned set point at 24-18.
A PSB service error and a Laura Hildebrand service ace brought the score to 24-20, but Behrend would hold the Panthers right there and take set two, 25-20, on a UPB attack error.
Looking to extend the match, the Panthers grabbed the first two points in set three and eventually held a 7-5 lead.
The two teams were later tied, 11-11, but Behrend opened up the match with a run that built its lead to 22-12.
But two consecutive points for the Lions ended the match and advanced them to the AMCC finals.
Emily Cleveland led the way for the Panthers with nine kills. Anderson and Treat followed with six apiece.
Payton Orzech assisted all 29 of the Panthers' kills.
Hildebrand led the Panthers with 14 digs and Anderson had 13.
Ally Easton assisted the most blocks for the Panthers with three.
Tonight's loss ends the storied career of the Panthers' lone senior, Erin Fagan, who earned over 500 kills during her time as a Pitt-Bradford student-athlete and helped the program to a conference title last season.
The Panthers expect to return much of its talented, young roster that features 15 underclassmen for the 2018 season.