MOUNT UNION - Mount Union fell to Penns Valley 3-0 in a non-league volleyball game at Mount Union High School by scores of 25-18, 25-23 and 26-24 on Monday.
Passing, specifically a failure to get the ball to dangerous middle-hitter Kristin Miles doomed the Trojans.
"We had our one or two rotations when we couldn't get our pass up," Mount Union coach Tessa McCormick said. "I think that we would do something big like that, then we would come around the next rotation and not pass the ball. It was up-and-down like a lot of our games have been, because were not consistent with our passing."
They still got a strong effort from Miles, including nine kills and six blocks, but that wasn't enough.
"When we were able to get the ball to her, she performed extremely well," McCormick said. "We struggled with out passing, therefore it was difficult to get it to her at times."
After trading points early in the first set, Penns Valley got four straight aces giving the Rams an early 7-3 lead.
Mount Union answered in a big way with three points of its own after a timeout.
They got a point back, followed by two straight service points from Miles, drawing it to 7-6.
Penns Valley went on a run to take a 16-11 advantage, before Miles came back with a deadly spike and a block on the ensuing point.
Penns Valley got two more aces from Chelsea Emel toward the end of the set, taking it 25-18.
"She had a very aggressive topspin serve, which drops no matter where it is," McCormick said. "We just consistently, all season have been having problems with the more aggressive servers."
Mount Union took the momentum right back at the beginning of the second set.
Two aces from Ashley Foor followed by an errant Penns Valley spike gave Mount Union an 11-4 advantage early in the set.
Mount Union scored to take a 17-12 advantage, but Penns Valley stormed back and tied it at 18.
Facing a 23-21 deficit, Miles added two more service point to tie it up at 23.
Penns Valley came right back though and returned her next save, earning the next two points of the set to take it 25-23.
Penns Valley took control early in the third and final set and was able to build upon a 5-2 early advantage by getting its serves down.
After trailing 18-11, Mount Union made a run to cut it to 18-15, which ended when a Penns Valley return found the net.
The teams traded points before Penns Valley couldn't handle Brya Crawley's serve, cutting it to 19-17.
Abigail Grove's block and ensuing service point reduced the deficit to 20-19 before Penns Valley picked up another point.
The Trojans, again, fought back to tie the set at 24-24, but dropped the final two points to fall 26-24.
"It was basically, us getting our serve back," McCormick said. "When we pass the ball well, we consistently swing on them and play good volleyball. You can't have unforced errors against decent teams and expect to win."
The junior varsity team won its match 2-0 (26-24 and 25-23).
Mount Union will be in action again today when the Trojans welcome Juniata Valley.