Brandywine Knocks Off Lehigh Valley To Reach Eighth-Straight Semifinal

Kira Thorne
Kira Thorne

MEDIA, Pa. -- No. 2 Penn State Brandywine won the first two sets by narrow margins and then pulled away during the third and final set to defeat No. 3 Penn State Lehigh Valley 3-0 Thursday night in a PSUAC Tournament quarterfinal match.

The victory sends Brandywine to Rec Hall in State College for an eighth-straight season where the Lions will take on Penn State Fayette, the No. 1 seed from the West Division, Monday night at 7:00 pm.

Brandywine received a balanced offensive effort with seven players recording between three and eight kills. Amanda Floyd (Glenolden, Pa./Interboro) and Hannah Sarafinas (Downingtown, Pa./Downingtown West) led the way by putting down eight kills each. Kira Thorne (Alconbury, England/Alconbury) added seven, while Rebecca Gonzalez (Clearwater, Fla./Washburn Academy) tallied 18 assists and Madison Swenson (Chadds Ford, Pa./Kennett) registered 15.

The first set was evenly matched, but Brandywine trailed just once during the very early going and never let the visitors put a run together as Lehigh Valley did not score more than two consecutive points at any point during the frame.

Brandywine opened up a lead as large as four, first on Sarafinas' kill and two points later following Rikelle Taylor's (Nottingham, Pa./Solanco) block, but Lehigh Valley used a 4-1 sput to knot the score at 19-19. A trio of Lehigh Valley errors and a kill from Taylor pushed Brandywine back in front by four and after the visitors tallied three of the next four points, an attacking error sent the first set to the Lions 25-22.

Lehigh Valley led for nearly the entire second set before Brandywine staged a late rally. Trailing 22-17, the Lions relled off six of the next seven points via kills from Sarafinas and Thorne and four Lehigh Valley miscues, tying the score at 23-23. Brandywine faced a pair of set points, but each time rallied to tie before pulling out the frame thanks to back-to-back kills from Floyd. The Lions were staked to a 2-0 edge after claiming set No. 2 29-27.

Lehigh Valley netted the first two points of the final set, but Brandywine quickly rebounded, scoring five-straight points, and never relinquished the lead. The margin was as small as one point at 12-11; however, the Lions put the match away with a 9-0 surge aided by three kills from Sarafinas, two by Floyd and Anthony's team-best third ace of the night.

Anthony also collected a Brandywine-best 18 digs, while Floyd and Brandi James (Glenolden, Pa./Interboro) both produced 17. Gonzalez added nine digs, while Taylor topped all players with four blocks and Sarafinas recorded three.

The winner of Monday's semifinal matches will faceoff Tuesday night at 6:00 pm in the PSUAC title game. Penn State Schuylkill and Penn State Beaver will meet in Monday's first semifinal match beginning at 5:00 pm.

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