Oh, So Close: Roaring Lions Win One, Drop Two Heartbreakers at National Championships


CANTON, N.Y. --  Fayette's womens's volleyball team had an exciting first  day at the USCAA National Volleyball Championships in Canton, N.Y., winning one and dropping two close matches on the opening round of pool play.

The five-time defending PSUAC champions dropped Johnson and Wales College 2-0, by scores of 25-23 and 25-12. Pool play games are best of three.

in the first set, Fayette raced to a 21-13 lead and then held off a late J&W charge to take game one. The roaring Lions cruised to a second set victory to take the match.

Samantha Helmantoler (Monongahela, Pa.), second in the nation in hitting percentage, led the way with seven kills. Four-time first team All-American Leah Ambrosini(Connellsville, Pa.) added four to go along with 12 digs. Setter Emily Konter (Brownsville, Pa.), a second team All-American showed why, notching 21 assists.

Emily Caldwell (Belle Vernon, Pa.) added five kills andJanelle Cooper (Mt. Braddock, Pa.) notched three. Kaitlyn Salisbury (Madison, Pa.) had five blocks.

Johnson & Wales was led by Moriah Hughes' six kills and three blocks.

In the second game, Fayette started slow in its match with defending champion Florida College, dropping game one 25-9. The Roaring Lions came alive in set two, before falling 25-21.

Fayette was led by Ambrosini's six kills. Caldwell and Cooper each had six digs for the Roaring Lions, and Emily Konter added 14 assists. Fayette drops to 1-1 in pool play.

In the nightcap, Fayette started strong, winning 25-13. The Lady Warriors stormed back to take the second set by n identical 25-13 score. That set up a game three showdown that saw Rochester survive a furious Fayette rally to win 15-12 and win the match 2-1.

Ambrosini had 12 kills and Helmantoler four. Konter had 21 assists. Caldwell had seven digs and Abby Tirpak (California, Pa.) six.

Heading into tomorrow's action, Fayette is 1-2 and currently stands in third place in Pool B. the top four teams in each pool advance to the quarterfinals tomorrow night. 

The Roaring Lions close out pool play tomorrow morning with a match against NHTI at 11:30a.m. A victory there would punch Fayette's ticket to the quarterfinals.