Golden Eagles Volleyball’s Storybook Season Ends with Loss to West Texas A&M

| December 8, 2023

MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. — The Golden Eagle volleyball team’s magical 2023 season came to an end in the round of eight, as Clarion fell by a 3-0 (23-25, 16-25, 18-25) score to West Texas A&M at the UPMC Events Center on Thursday evening.

(Photo by Kirkland Photography)

The team made the NCAA Championship quarterfinals for just the second time in program history.

The match was a slugfest between two high-scoring offenses, with both sides putting the ball away at a healthy clip. Clarion hit .274 as a team while the Lady Buffs fired away at a .356 percentage, but team kills were essentially even as were blocks.

Playing in the last matches of their college careers, outside hitter Julia Piccolino and setter London Fuller showed grit and determination while taking on the reigning national champions.

Piccolino notched 15 kills and 11 digs for a double-double, and the senior hit .406 with just two errors on 32 attempts.

Fuller dished out 37 assists and added four digs and a solo block.

Cassidy Snider finished off her record-breaking season with another strong performance, posting 16 kills and hitting .333 for the match. That gave her a season total of 601 kills for the year, making her the first-ever Golden Eagle player to top 600 kills in a year.

The highlight of the match was undoubtedly the first set of the night, with both teams going after one another offensively in an exciting display.

Clarion recovered from an early deficit to put the heat on the Lady Buffs, using a 7-1 run to take a 14-11 advantage. Piccolino got it going with a kill and Sadie Leisinger followed up with a solo block against Carly Evetts.

The emotional crescendo came a few points later, when Fuller tipped a kill over to make it 13-11 and then stuffed Brynne Wright at the net to make it a three-point lead.

The Golden Eagles had ample opportunity to win the set, with Piccolino posting a kill to make it 21-18.

The Lady Buffs countered with four straight points to take a 22-21 lead, and West Texas A&M took the set 25-23 on a kill by Torrey Miller.

Things remained competitive for the rest of the night, but the Lady Buffs were able to pull away in each of the remaining two sets to earn the sweep.

Emma Becker posted a kill in the second set to help her team with the race to 15, and Miller had a kill to make it 20-13.

Taytum Snow eventually won the set 25-16 with a kill, closing out a modest 3-0 run.

Charlie Allison tied the third set at 10-10 with a kill, but the Lady Buffs rattled off six straight points to take a 16-10 lead, and Miller eventually finished off the set with a kill.

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Jacob Deemer is a reporter for EYT Media Group, who is based out of Venango County. He started his career as a sports writer for a local newspaper before contributing to as a beat writer for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He has spent over 6 years covering sports, crime, and local news in Venango, Clarion, and Jefferson Counties.
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