Courtesy of Susquehanna Athletic Communications
SELINSGROVE, Pa. - Kody Dillon, Sydney Portale, and Hannah Lyons had 16, 14, and 11 kills respectively and Lindsey Pugh distributed 46 assists as the Susquehanna University Volleyball team defeated Catholic in four sets in Landmark Conference Semi-Final action at Orlando W. Houts Gymnasium in Selinsgrove.
The River Hawks (24-12) defeated the Cardinals (19-13) 25-21, 23-25, 25-12, and 25-15 as the team advanced to the Landmark Conference Championship for the ninth time in the last 13 years.
In a back-and-forth opening set, Susquehanna showed resilience after trailing by four as late as 18-14. The River Hawks went on a seven-point run that included kills from Dillon and Portale, causing the Cardinals to call a timeout. Solid play by the Cardinals trimmed the River Hawk lead to one point at 21-20, but the River Hawks were too much for Catholic and scored four of the final five points to take the first set. A kill by Megan Nelson closed it out at 25-21.
In the following set, Susquehanna jumped out to a 6-2 lead as Pugh and Portale had kills before several attack errors by the Cardinals caused the team to call another timeout. Catholic would eventually knot up the score soon after and the set remained close throughout as there were ten total lead changes. With Susquehanna holding onto a slim 21-20 lead, the Cardinals went on to score four straight points and took control at 24-21. Two straight kills by Riley O'Dowd and Lyons helped the team fight back late but Catholic ended up taking the set 25-23.
In the third set, the River Hawks dominated in all statistical categories. After a solid start, the team relied on two straight kills by Dillon and a few attack errors by Catholic to take control at 10-3. The Cardinals went on to score the next two points, but the River Hawks then proceeded to go on a five-point run in which Catholic had trouble containing Portale who recorded three kills in a short span. She had six kills in the set as the team won 25-12.
Susquehanna trailed early in the fourth set, but Lyons recorded two straight kills that sparked the River Hawks as they scored six straight points to give them a lead that they would not relinquish. Dillon registered a thunderous kill to close out the match.
Lizzie Herestofa led the team with 23 digs and Nelson added 18. The River Hawks totaled 32 blocks as Lyons had nine, followed by O'Dowd and Pugh who registered six. Veronica Kirchner had five blocks that all came early in the match, setting the tone out of the gate.
Susquehanna will take on Juniata in the Landmark Conference Championship match. The contest is set to begin at 7 p.m. at Memorial Gymnasium in Huntingdon.