LANCASTER, Pa. – The Penn State Altoona men's volleyball team's season came to an end on Saturday afternoon, when the Lions were defeated 3-0 by Lancaster Bible College in the semifinal round of the North Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament at the Horst Athletic Center.
Lancaster Bible (22-4), the top seed in the NEAC Tournament and the hosts for the semifinal and championship rounds, won in straight sets by scores of 25-17, 25-19, and 25-19.
Penn State Altoona (16-13) was led in kills by Justin Bannister (Willow Hill, PA/Fannett-Metal), who finished with nine kills to go along with three digs and two block assists. Dan Downs (Reading, PA/Daniel Boone) added eight kills, as well as one solo block and one block assist to tie the team's single season record for total blocks with 83 – a record he set himself last season. Brian Sheddy (Shrewsbury, PA/Susquehannock) posted eight kills, seven digs, and one solo block.
Tommy Kisick (Latrobe, PA/Greater Latrobe) had a team-high 23 assists. Brandon Arentz (Mount Wolf, PA/Northeastern) totaled a team-best eight digs, while Jonathan Ruhl (Lancaster, PA/Manheim Township) recorded five digs.
Penn State Altoona held a pair of four-point leads in the first set before Lancaster Bible rallied to win it. An attack error by the Chargers helped the Lions open up with an 8-4 lead, and Kisick's kill six points later made it 11-7. But Lancaster Bible finished the set on an 18-6 run to win it by eight points.
Two kills by Sheddy and another from Bannister helped the Lions start the second set with a 4-2 advantage. But a 13-5 run by Lancaster Bible helped the home team pull ahead to a six-point lead. The Chargers scored the final three straight points in the set on a kill and an ace from Kasey Gentry, along with a kill from Kole Horst.
Bannister's kill early in the third set got Penn State Altoona out to a 3-2 lead, but a kill by Nate Miller and a Lion error gave Lancaster Bible a 4-3 lead. The Chargers never trailed the rest of the way and led by as many as six points. Kaleb Ansell's kill capped the set, clinching a NEAC championship berth for Lancaster Bible.