PITTSBURGH, Pa. – No. 4 seed La Roche College came back to defeat No. 5 seed Penn State Altoona 3-1 in Wednesday night's Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference Tournament semifinal at the Kerr Fitness Center.
Penn State Altoona (8-18) won the opening set 25-19, but La Roche (16-11) battled back to win the next three by scores of 27-25, 25-11, and 25-14.
Kaitlin Cassaday (Bel Air, MD/Bel Air) finished with a team-high nine kills and two service aces to go along with seven digs. Emily Bryan (Waynesboro, PA/Waynesboro) and Kaila Clawson (Altoona, PA/Altoona) tied for the team-lead in digs with 20 apiece, with Bryan chipping in nine assists and five kills and Clawson also tallying five assists. Lauren Moran (Johnstown, PA/Westmont Hilltop) put up a team-leading 18 assists while adding 16 digs.
Alexis Cannistraci (Tyrone, PA/Tyrone) finished with seven kills. Kelsey Bristol (Troy, PA/Troy) added four kills and 12 digs, and Eden Taddei (Hollidaysburg, PA/Hollidaysburg) posted four kills and six digs.
Penn State Altoona pulled away in the second part of the first set, winning the opening set to take a lead in the match. Up 17-14, the Lady Lions used a 5-0 run to expand their lead to 22-14. During that run, the team got a kill each from Bristol and Taddei. Two La Roche service errors and another Taddei kill accounted for the Lady Lions' final three points.
In the second set, Penn State Altoona watched a 16-12 lead disappear, as La Roche came back and eventually grabbed the advantage late in the set. The Lady Redhawks had Penn State Altoona at set point, 24-22, but a Cassaday kill and a La Roche attack error tied the score 24-24. The home team had another chance to put the Lady Lions away, up 25-24, but another kill by Cassaday prevented it by tying the score 25-25. However, La Roche got two points in a row on a pair of Penn State Altoona miscues to finally close out the set and tie the match 1-1.
La Roche carried its momentum through the next two sets, earning a 14-point win in the third set and an 11-point lead in the fourth to win the match and advance to the AMCC final four this weekend at Penn State Behrend.
With its loss, Penn State Altoona is eliminated from the AMCC Tournament. The Lady Lions finished their 2018 campaign with an 8-18 overall record, including a 5-4 mark in the AMCC.
Notes: Senior outside hitter Bristol was named to the AMCC's All-Tournament Team at the conclusion of the conference playoffs.