Pioneers fall to Indiana Tech, 3-1, in NAIA National Championship Opening Round
Nov. 19, 2011
FT. WAYNE, Ind. -- The Point Park University volleyball team lost at NAIA #17 Indiana Tech, 3-1, Saturday afternoon in the 2011 NAIA Volleyball National Championship Opening Round.
The Pioneers (36-6) lost to the Warriors (34-5) by scores of 25-17, 26-28, 25-15, 25-22. What was the best season in Point Park volleyball history comes to an end while Indiana Tech moves on to the final site of national championship Nov. 29 to Dec. 3 in Sioux City, Iowa.
The Point Park-Indiana Tech match was one of 12 Opening Round matches around the country Saturday. The 12 Opening Round winners will meet the 11 teams that got a bye and also host team Morningside in Sioux City.
Point Park was in the NAIA national tournament for the first time, while Indiana Tech is in it for the fourth year in a row. The Pioneers won their first-ever American Mideast Conference Tournament Nov. 8 and then qualified for nationals by beating Holy Names (Calif.) in an Uaffiliated Group match.
Point Park's 36 wins are the most in program history, and the six losses are the fewest in team annals.
Brittany Lhota, a 6-2 right side hitter from Latrobe, Pa., had 18 kills to lead Point Park. Lindsey Oberacker, a 6-0 outside hitter from Erie, Pa., had 12 kills and 13 digs. Brigette Jones added 13 kills, and Tayler Pugliese had 42 assists. Defensively, Alyssa Hall had 21 digs and Margaret Gillooly had 14.
Point Park led the first set, 13-11, before Indiana Tech took a 21-15 lead and eventually won the set, 25-17. The Warriors took 14 of the final 18 points of the opening set.
In set two, Point Park was ahead, 11-7, and and then 14-9 before Indiana Tech battled back to tie things at 22-22. Both teams had a set point or two before the Pioneers pulled it out, 28-26.
The third set was all Indiana Tech early, and although Point Park mounted a bit of a comeback, the early deficit was too big. Indiana Tech won the first five points, and was ahead, 14-3, when Point Park called its second timeout. Point Park got as close as 10 points before dropping the set, 25-15.
In the decisive fourth set, Tech once again grabbed the early lead, 5-1 and then 7-3. But Point Park then cut the deficit down to 8-6 moments later. The margin stayed tight, and Indiana Tech was up, 19-18. At that point, a controversional call gave the Warriors a 20-18 lead. The teams traded points from then on, and that cushion was enough for Indiana Tech to win, 25-22.