Fords rally past Stevens in 5-set thriller

HAVERFORD, Pa. - Sophomore Meg O'Day registered a career-high 21 kills to help the Haverford College volleyball team rally past visiting Stevens Institute of Technology, 3-2, in non-conference action at Gooding Arena on Wednesday night.

The Fords (9-3) shook off a first-set loss (19-25) to claim a tight second set. Sara Rennert was a factor as Haverford earned six straight points to push ahead, 18-12, with the sophomore on the service line. It was Abby Keller's turn to serve with the score deadlocked at 23-23 and the freshman made the most of the opportunity as she delivered an ace to give the Fords a one-point advantage. Keller's classmate Elena Garcia capped off the 25-23 victory with her third kill of night to tie the score at 1-1.

The Ducks (14-2) moved back ahead in the contest by winning set three (20-25) but Haverford was far from finished. O'Day and Keri Godbe each tallied four kills to key the offense in set four as Haverford moved out to an 18-13 advantage. Stevens closed within two at 21-19 but O'Day was not to be denied as she registered three of the Fords' final four points in the 25-20 win that forced a deciding fifth set.

There were five ties in the final set of the match as the two squads continued to battle. An 11-11 deadlock turned into a 13-11 Haverford advantage with back-to-back kills from Godbe and Nina Mutty and the Fords, buoyed by the spirited crowd, went on to close out a 15-12 victory.

Godbe finished with 18 kills while Mutty added 11. Sophomore Olivia Walsh and Keller shared time directing the offense with 32 and 22 assists, respectively.

Mutty's paced an impressive team-wide defensive effort with 27 digs. Godbe (19), Brody (15), Madison Fuelling (12) and Jeanna Kenney (11) also reached double figures in digs.

Stevens, one of the teams receiving votes in this week's American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) national poll, was led by Mary Tobin's 20 kills and  Kirsten Salmins' 23 digs.

Haverford returns to action on Saturday when it travels to Gettysburg College for a Centennial Conference match beginning at 1 p.m. The Fords will then take on Elizabethtown College in non-conference action at 3 p.m.