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The Advocate

Volleyball season ends in second round

Members of the Pitt-Johnstown volleyball team celebrates with their trophy and plaques after defeating Gannon University in the conference championship Nov. 18 at the Hammermill Center in Erie, Pa.

Matt Mead

Members of the Pitt-Johnstown volleyball team celebrates with their trophy and plaques after defeating Gannon University in the conference championship Nov. 18 at the Hammermill Center in Erie, Pa.

Cory Geer, Staff Writer

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The Pitt-Johnstown Mountain Cats volleyball team ended their season Friday in the second round of the Atlantic Regional tournament, losing to the team that they had beaten Nov.18 to win the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Championship.

The Gannon University Lady Knights beat Pitt-Johnstown in the second round of the Atlantic Region playoffs in Wheeling, W.Va.

Gannon, higher ranked than the Mountain Cats, was the victim of a Mountain Cats’ comeback Nov. 18, losing 3-2 in the conference championship game in Erie.

Pitt-Johnstown senior libero Devon Orr said the team’s work all year paid off.

“We got down early in the first two sets and came from behind just like we did the night before against Edinboro,” said Orr.

The Mountain Cats were no strangers to fighting back and coming from behind in games this year. The Mountain Cats came from two-set deficits five times this year to win in five sets.

For the Mountain Cats volleyball team it was there first conference tournament title since 2013; when it was their first year in the conference.

Orr said that she was happy to bring the championship back to Pitt-Johnstown.

“When I committed here, Pitt-Johnstown won the conference tournament, and, since I’ve gotten on campus, we’ve been so close to winning it, and finally we did it this year,” said Orr.

The Mountain Cats the past two years have lost in the finals or semifinals of the conference tournament.

The Mountain Cats were led by tournament most-valuable player Marissa Erminio. Who had 11 kills and 18 digs.             Gannon jumped out to a 15-7 lead in the first set after opening play with three consecutive service aces.

The Lady Knights kept Pitt-Johnstown at arm’s length throughout the remainder of the set before claiming it following a Pitt-Johnstown attack error.

Neither squad was able to establish much of a lead in the second, however, a 10-3 run by Gannon gave it a two sets-to-none advantage.

Gannon was five points from a sweep after three straight kills by freshman Ally Smith in the third set, as the Golden Knights led 20-19, before Pitt-Johnstown regained control and stayed alive with a 25-21 victory.

Pitt-Johnstown kept the momentum in the fourth set and got three straight kills from Erminio and a service ace from Caitlin Vrabel to jump out to an 8-1 lead.

The Lady Knights clawed back to within four at 12-8, but the Mountain Cats dominated the rest of the set and outscored Gannon 13-4 to force a fifth set.

A pair of Orr aces and senior Cambria Wierman kill gave Pitt-Johnstown the 25-12 win.

In a race to 15 in the final set,Pitt-Johnstown battled back from a pair of two-point deficits, before Wierman’s ace and a Gannon error gave the Mountain Cats a 10-8 lead. Kills by Maura Brehl and Kendall Mahony extended it to 12-9.

The fifth set provided to the most entertaining of the night while it was a see-saw affair.

The Mountain Cats took a 13-10 lead following a Gannon attack error. Gannon cut the deficit to one, 14-13, before a kill from Pitt-Johnstown sophomore Noelle Carota sealed the contest.

With Pitt-Johnstown winning the conference they got an automatic bid into the Atlantic Regional where they were seeded No. 3. In the first round the Mountain Cats defeated Seton Hill, 3-0.

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The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown's student newspaper
Volleyball season ends in second round