NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. - Penn State New Kensington had the unenviable task of hosting frontrunner Penn State Fayette on Tuesday, and although New Ken played competitively in the final two sets, Fayette claimed a straight-sets triumph. The visitors prevailed 25-9, 25-14, and 25-17, improving to 9-1 in the Penn State University Athletic Conference (PSUAC), and 20-2 overall. Homestanding New Kensington, conversely, dropped its eighth-consecutive match, falling to 0-10 in PSUAC play, and 3-15 overall.
New Kensington started slow out of the gate, as Fayette notched the first six points of the opening set. Although New Ken pulled within three at 7-4, Fayette utilized another 6-0 run with libero Machaela Hall on the serve to gain control, and cruise to the opening set win.
In the second set, New Kensington battled tough in the early stages. After Fayette scored the first two points, New Ken notched four in a row, keyed by senior Lindsey Hessom (Leechburg, Pa/Kiski Area) on the line. New Ken extended the advantage to 8-4, but Fayette quickly shifted momentum to its side, using a 7-0 surge. Although New Ken subsequently pulled within a point at 11-10, the visitors registered the next five points to establish the upper hand, and later closed the set by scoring the final seven points.
The final set began with the teams exchanging the lead early, and Fayette held just a two-point edge at 17-15. A 7-2 run by Fayette give the visitors match point, however, and although New Ken attempted to mount a late rally, Fayette proved too much in the end.
Senior Kaylea Flick (Murrysville, Pa/Franklin Regional) paced New Kensington with seven kills, while freshman Kierra Rose contributed five kills and six digs. Hessom provided all 14 of the New Ken assists, junior Janet Surma (Lower Burrell, Pa/Burrell) led the team with 14 digs, and sophomore Bethany Baney (Apollo, Pa/Kiski Area) added 11 digs.
For Fayette, senior Siteri Tale notched a game-high eight kills, as well as seven digs, while freshman Pasepa Buwawa contributed seven kills, 11 digs and four blocks. Sophomore Jadyn Barnish and freshman Justyne Howell each registered 13 assists, while Hall led the way with 19 digs.
Fayette will play in a tri-match against Penn State Greater Allegheny and Kent State – Tuscarawas on Saturday, beginning at noon.
Meanwhile, New Kensington has two matches remaining this season, both at home. Next up, New Ken will host Penn State Beaver on Sunday at noon.