Panthers Unable to Upset Penn State Behrend, Season Ends in Championship Game

Panthers Unable to Upset Penn State Behrend, Season Ends in Championship Game

Erie, Pa -- The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford women's volleyball team fell to top seeded Penn State Behrend in the AMCC Championship Game on Sunday afternoon. They fell to the Lions in straight sets to bring their 2019 season to an end.

Despite losing to the Lions, who went through their AMCC slate undefeated, the Panthers pushed the champions to the edge early in the match. After losing the first three rallys of the day, the Panthers answered with three points of their own. Pitt-Bradford took the lead in the set at 5-4 following an Emily Cleveland kill, and remained in front of or even with Penn State-Behrend for the majority of the opening set. A Riley Anderson kill put the Panthers up 3 at 12-9 and forced the Lions to take a time out. The Lions did grab a short advantage at 13-14, but the Panthers hopped right back in front, picking up a point on a service error by the Lions and regaining the advantage on a Katie Rose service ace. Pitt-Bradford maintained the lead until the closing stages of the set, when the Lions finished on a 5-1 run to clinch the opening point.

In the second set, the Panthers were able to exchange points early, remaining tied with the Lions through the first 18 points of the set. The Lions were able to separate themselves in midway through the set, using a 10-1 run to build an insurmountable lead. The Panthers struggled to score in the set, as they were held to only 6 kills, which equalled their total number of errors in the set. They lost the second set 25-16.

With their season on the line, the Panthers came out strong in the third set, building an early 7-4 lead. The Panthers saw their momentum stopped by a 5 point Penn State Behrend run, but battled to find themselves up a point at 16-15 following back to back kills from Alexandra Segura. Following a time out, the Lions quickly retook control of the set, scoring 5 of 6 points to rebuild a 3  point lead. From that point they were able to maintain their lead and close the match with a 25-21 set 3 win.

Cleveland and Katie Treat led the Panthers in kills, both finishing with 7. Cleveland also added 3 service aces and was in on 3 blocks. Tabitha Walker recorded 17 assists, while Laura Hildebrand led the team in digs with 21. As a team, the Panthers recorded 8 blocks. 

The Panthers season comes to an end with a record of 18-13. In their final 8 games, they went 6-2, with both losses coming to the conference champions. Emily Cleveland finished the season with 376 Kills, which will likely be the top mark in the Conference. Looking to next year, the Panthers will look to return to the top of the conference, on the strength of 11 rising seniors who were important pieces of the 2018 Championship team and this year's 2nd place squad.