Volleyball Opens Season with Split at Haverford Invitational

HAVERFORD, Pa.  – The Haverford College volleyball team (1-1) split the opening day of the Haverford College Invitational on Saturday, opening the season with matches against Rowan and Stevens at the Gooding '84 Arena. The Fords took down Rowan 3-1 before falling 3-1 to Stevens. Rowan sits at 0-2 at the end of the day's action while Stevens is 2-0. 

Haverford 3, Rowan 1 (16-25, 25-14, 25-14, 25-20)

After a sluggish first set loss in which the Fords hit just .062, Haverford stormed back with three straight set victories. In the second set, the Fords got out to a 14-5 lead, going on an 8-2 run punctuated by back-to-back kills from Natalie Pisch and Sydney Miller. Rowan battled back to cut the lead to just five at 19-14, but the Fords closed the set on a 6-0 run, as Claire Nicholas oversaw a rejuvenated Haverford offense from the service line, contributing a pair of aces.

In the third set, the Fords forced a Rowan timeout with a 9-5 start, as Nicholas again was at the service line for four-straight points. The Fords pushed the lead to 19-11 with an emphatic solo block from Julia Gallagher-Teske, and Nicholas returned to the service line to help anchor a 5-0 run that put the Fords on the precipice of a set win at 24-13. With Rowan serving, Natalie Pisch was able to earn the kill to give Haverford a 2-1 lead. The Fords hit a match-best .423 in the set, with 14 kills and just three errors on 26 swings.

The fourth set was contested closely with a tie as late as 15-15. Haverford went up 20-16, but the Owls were able to work things back to two at 21-19. A Kill from Megan Jacobi made it a one-point game before Pisch registered a kill to make the score 22-20. The Fords closed it out with a 4-0 run, as Sydney Miller and Madison Adore teamed up on a block to give the Fords set point and an attack error by Maura Francis ended the contest in favor of Haverford.

Gallagher-Teske matched a career best with seven blocks and set a new career high with four solo blocks.  Pisch had a game-best 15 kills with Nicholas chipping in 14 in her collegiate debut to go with four service aces. Zoe Wong had 33 assists while Pisch led the way with 23 digs. Kailey Gallagher had 11 kills for Rowan while Katelyn Paxson and Mary-Grace Testa had 16 and 11 assists, respectively.

Haverford his .232 for the match and limited Rowan to just .090 hitting. Haverford improves to 3-1 all-time against Rowan after the first meeting between the two programs since 2003.

 (RV) Stevens 3, Haverford 1 (16-25, 23-25, 25-21, 16-25)

In the second match of the day, the Fords faced a formidable Stevens side and struggled in the early going. After the score was tied 10-10 in the first set, Stevens rallied to take a 20-12 lead. Haverford cut the lead to 21-15, but the Stevens advantage was too big as the Fords were outhit .448 to .114 in the first set loss. 

In the second set, the Fords battled back from a 16-6 deficit to tie the score at 22-22. A spirited Adore kill made it a one-point game at 21-20 and energized the home crowd before Pisch tallied a service ace to tie it up. Casey King and Shelby Stewart delivered kills to give Stevens set point and Emily Singleton closed it out at 25-23. Despite the loss, Haverford regained momentum that it would take into a third set victory.

In set three, the Fords sprinted out to a 14-7 lead before the Ducks cut the score to just 15-13. Nicholas again led a 4-0 run from the service line, leading to a Stevens timeout with the visitors trailing 20-13. Jillian Roumbanis proved to be a service maven for Stevens, anchoring a run that put the Ducks right back into thoughts of a sweep down just one at 21-20. Pisch ended the run with a kill and the Fords went up by two off an attack error. Sydney Miller gave the Fords set point and Pisch took a pass from Wong to end the set at 25-21.

Stevens rolled to an 11-3 start in the fourth set, and extended the lead to 20-9, seemingly putting the match out of reach for Haverford. The Fords battled valiantly with Adore and Nicholas teaming up for a block that made the score 13-7, but the Stevens advantage would get no smaller than eight.

Pisch led the way for Haverford with 11 kills while Wong posted 27 assists. Nicholas had four service aces. Sara Matsumura had 20 digs and Gallagher-Teske notched five blocks. King, Singleton and Taleen Mitchell all had double-digit kill totals for the visiting Ducks. Stevens hit .214 for the match while limiting the Fords to .075.  

The all-time series between Stevens and Haverford sits at 6-5 in favor of the Fords. Stevens took a 3-0 win last year in Hoboken, N.J.

Haverford returns to action tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. against John Carroll. The Fords will follow up the matchup with the Blue Streaks with a matchup with No. 10 Mary Washington at 2:00 p.m. to close out the action at the Haverford Invitational.