VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – No. 8 Penn State Brandywine saw its volleyball season come to an end following a pair of defeats at the United States Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament on Friday afternoon. The Lions lost a three-set heartbreaker to No. 5 Carlow (28-26, 25-27, 15-8) after dropping a 2-0 decision to Maine-Fort Kent (25-18, 25-15).
Much like its first day at the USCAA Tournament, Brandywine fell behind early in each set and had to battle back against Maine-Fort Kent during its first match. Trailing 16-9 in the first set, Brandywine put a rally together to climb within three on two occasions. Rikelle Taylor (Nottingham, Pa./Solanco), Nikki Poissant (Aston, Pa./Cardinal O'Hara) and Lauren Kelly (Downingtown, Pa./Downingtown East) set down kills, while Becca Civera (Boothwyn, Pa./Chichester) recorded a pair of aces to make the score 19-16.
Fort Kent netted the next two points, but Brandywine answered with a pair, including a kill from Poissant; however, the Bengals notched the final four points of the set to claim a 1-0 lead.
The Benglas opened up a 16-9 advantage again during the second frame, but a 6-2 Brandywine run brought the Lions back within striking distance at 18-15. The surge was sandwiched by a pair of kills from Margot Gargus (Downingtown, Pa./Downingtown East). Maine-Fort Kent again had an answer, responding with seven-straight points to pull away to take the final set 25-15 and win the match 2-0.
Gargus posted four kills, while Poissant tallied three and Taylor added two. Sullivan Stark (Middletown, Del./William Penn) collected nine assists, along with four digs and a pair of blocks. In addition to her three aces, Civera paced Brandywine with eight digs. Poissant registered five digs, while Gargus amassed four and Kelly totaled three.
Against Carlow, Brandywine led by as many as six points on two occasions during the first set before the Celtics rebounded to tie the score for the first time at 22-22. A Carlow serving error and kill by Poissant gave Brandywine a two-point edge; however, Carlow avoided set point three times and Kristina Hudock's ace gave the Celtics the first frame.
The second set was tightly contested as neither team opened up a lead bigger than four points until Carlow pushed in front 24-20. Brandywine managed to stave off match point four times as a pair of miscues from Carlow along with kills by Taylor and Poissant and an ace by Stark edged Brandywine in front. Carlow tied the score at 25-25, but Kelly's kill and a Carlow error provided Brandywine the set 27-25, evening the match.
The final frame belonged to Carlow, however. The Celtics scored seven of the first eight points and would not allow Brandywine to get closer than four the rest of the way, taking the set 15-8 and the match 2-1.
Playing in the final of her career at Brandywine, Poissant led the way with eight kills, four digs and two assists. The two-time all-American and two-time PSUAC Player of the Year concluded her 113-match career with 912 kills and 925 digs.
Gargus added six kills, while Kelly posted four and Taylor tallied three. Stark dished out 16 assists and recorded five digs. Defensively, Civera reached double figures with 11 digs and Gargus tallied six.
Brandywine, which won the PSUAC title for the second time this fall, concluded its season with a 25-6 record. The season included a pair of team records: a 19-game winning streak and 25 victories.