Lady Cats fall short in NCAA Tournament

Emily Moore, Staff Writer

The Lady Cats season came to an end with a 25-10 overall record.

Top-seeded and defending national champion Wheeling (W.Va.) Jesuit University finished strong in all three sets in a 25-15, a 25-17 and a 25-19 sweep over the Lady Cats Saturday in the semifinals of the 2016 NCAA Division II tournament in Wheeling, W. Va.

Sophomore Maura Brehl had 10 kills, four blocks and seven digs to lead Pitt-Johnstown.

The Lady Cats faced  No. 5 seed California (Pa.) University on Friday and won 3-1 in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II Atlantic Region tournament.

Junior Kendall Mahony collected 15 kills while freshman Anna Johns added 10 kills to help lead Pitt-Johnstown to victory.

The Lady Cats entered the tournament after a 3-0 loss in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference tournament championship game against Gannon University.

Mahony said she felt good about the experience.

“Even though we lost in the finals (in the conference tournament), I think it went really well. Unfortunately, the night of the finals, Gannon played their game,” said Mahony.

“It was such an honor to even make it to the finals. Most teams never get the chance to experience something like that.”

In the semifinals against Indiana University (Pa.), the Lady Cats won 3-1.

According to Mahony, that game was a highlight.

“We played really well in the semifinals,” said Mahony.

“Everyone showed up to play, and you could see how much we all wanted to take the game.”

Against the California Vulcans in the NCAA tournament, the Lady Cats had new obstacles to face.

After defeating the Vulcans 3-2 earlier in the season, Mahony said the Lady Cats had confidence going into the match.

“I was hopeful that we would do well against California,” said Mahony.

“We beat them in five matches the first time we played them, so it turned out to be a pretty even and good match.”

Even after the loss in the conference tournament against Gannon, junior outside hitter Cambria Wierman said they faced great competition.

“We had a lot of good teams to face, we just fell a little short in the finals,” said Wierman.

“Making it all the way to the championship was the best part, though.”

Wierman said the competition the Lady Cats faced against California led to a great match.

“It was a great face-off against California, we saw them play against Gannon and they are a solid team,” said Wierman.