HAVERFORD, Pa. – In a five-set marathon, the Haverford College volleyball team prevailed over visiting Elizabethtown, 3-2. Set scores for the match were 25-18, 18-25, 25-23, 22-25, 20-18 as the teams battled for separation all evening. Ultimately, it was the Fords taking the victory at home behind a strong blocking performance and solid defense. Haverford improves to 3-2 on the season while Elizabethtown falls to 2-2 in defeat.
Haverford set the tone right away, hitting .321 in a first set victory. After the set was tied as late as 16-16, the Fords pulled away with an 8-0 run as Sara Matsumura was able to anchor the attack from the service line, contributing a pair of services aces in the run. A solo block from Julia Gallagher-Teske fired up the Haverford bench and put an exclamation mark on the run that put things out of reach for the Blue Jays.
In the second set, the Fords were on the flip side of an extended run. Haverford battled back from a 14-9 deficit with a 5-0 run that prompted an Elizabethtown timeout. Haverford got as close as 16-15 before the Blue Jays stretched the lead to 22-15 as Katie Kennedy took reign over the service line. Kennedy ultimately gave way as she served into the net to give serve back to Haverford, but the Fords could cut no closer than 24-18 in dropping the set.
The Fords limited Elizabethtown to a negative hitting percentage in the third set, turning a late 21-17 deficit into a 21-21 tie with Gallagher-Teske at the service line. A service error briefly regained the lead for the Blue Jays before the Fords were able to take advantage of errors to pull away 25-23.
As the seesaw battle of a match progressed, Elizabethtown opened up on a 14-5 run in the fourth set to make hopes of a Haverford victory in four dissipate. The Fords were able to battle back from trailing 20-14, cutting the lead to 24-22 before falling to force a deciding fifth set. Elizabethtown rebounded from a flawed third set with nearly flawless effort in the fourth, tallying just four errors on 34 total attempts for a match-best .412 hitting percentage.
Elizabethtown grabbed the early momentum in the fifth, prompting a Haverford timeout down 5-1. The Fords tied the score at 8-8 immediately following the break, but the Blue Jays worked their way to the brink of victory after two Haverford errors. Up 14-12 serving with match point, Chelsea Gallagher served long to keep the Fords alive. After signaling for timeout, Elizabethtown committed two more attack errors to give Haverford back the lead at 15-14. The Blue Jays converted two straight points for a second match point before another error tied tied the score. Elizabethtown took a third match point up 17-16, but Sydney Miller found the floor with a crucial kill to tie the score at 17-17.
The Fords earned match point themselves as Miller teamed up with Madison Adore on a block for an 18-17 lead before Morgan Reiss tied the match at 18-18 for the visitors. Haverford regained match point at 19-18 as Miller again delivered a kill and Natalie Pisch ended the match at 20-18, with the Fords converting when it counted to take a hard earned victory.
Claire Nicholas had 17 kills while Pisch added 13. Miller led the way with five blocks while Sara Matsumura contributed 32 digs. Zoe Wong had 43 assists. Elle Shatto had 20 kills for the Blue Jays while Mackenzie Garner added 19. Gabby Anders had 60 assists in a losing effort. The Fords hit .179 in the match and limited Elizabethtown to .158. The Fords improved to 10-6 all-time against Elizabethtown including five straight victories. Haverford now has a perfect 6-0 home mark against the Blue Jays.
Haverford returns to action on Saturday with a home tri-match against Wilkes and Penn State Berks. Action is slated to get underway at 10:00 a.m. The Fords are 4-0 all-time against Wilkes with the last meeting between the two sides coming in 2002. Haverford bested Penn State Berks into the only meeting between the two programs in 2004.