PSUMA volleyball captures a National Championship title.
In a season full of new accomplishments, the Penn State Mont Alto volleyball team added one more to its resume on Saturday afternoon at the Virginia Beach Field House as they captured the school’s first ever National Championship by defeating Penn State York in four sets. Penn State Mont Alto also faced off against Penn State York twelve days earlier as they won the school’s first volleyball championship since 2003.
Penn State Mont Alto knew this contest wouldn’t be easy as Penn State York would come out hungry despite already losing to Mont Alto twice earlier during the season. York answered the bell quickly by taking the first set 26-24. Penn State Mont Alto raced out to a quick 6-2 advantage in the second set on back-to-back service aces from Zoey McCormack. Penn State York won the next five points to take a one point advantage. The turning point of the set came when Mont Alto went on a mini run with the score tied 15-15 to go on top 19-16 late in the set.
Penn State York tied the second set at 22-22 before Mont Alto took full control and tied the match, taking set two by a final of 25-22. Three miscues by Penn State York would hurt as those mistakes are the last three points of the set.
Mont Alto took full control of the third set, leading by as much as ten points with a 20-10 margin at one point. Penn State York cut the deficit to eight, but that would be the closest they would get as Penn State Mont Alto went up two sets to one by winning set three 25-14.
Penn State Mont Alto raced out to a 9-3 lead in the final set on kills by Gracie Vaughn and Kylee Gooding on an assist from Kylie Denlinger. A Penn State York kill from Zoe Luedtke on an assist from Makayla Dyson trimmed the Penn State Mont Alto advantage to 12-11. Penn State York took a 17-16 lead and also tied the set at 20-20 late. Penn State Mont Alto could sense the championship, winning four of the next five points. Kills from Caroline Blickley and Kylee Gooding were points 24 and 25 as Penn State Mont Alto erupted into celebration with players and coaches alike embracing in hugs and jubilation.
Following the game, Gracie Vaughn was awarded MVP honors with a game-high 22 kills on 36 attack attempts. Kylie and Brooke Denlinger were also awarded All-Tournament team honors for their strong performances over the weekend.
Penn State Mont Alto won 21 of its 23 sets played during the playoff run dating back to the conference playoffs as the team compiled a perfect 7-0 record during that span.
Kylie Gooding registered 14 kills and 14 digs… Brooke Denlinger tallied a team-leading 33 digs and Kylie Denlinger added 15 in the winning effort…Caroline Blickley (5) and Kylie Denlinger (4) combined for nine assisted blocks… Zoey McCormack led the team with four service aces.