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Volleyball Storms Back to Down McDaniel in Tri-Match Split

Sara Matsumura
Sara Matsumura
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HAVERFORD, Pa. – The Haverford College volleyball team registered a split in its final home tri-match of the season, storming back to defeat the McDaniel Green Terror in five sets before falling in straight sets to Cabrini in a non-conference matchup. Set scores for the McDaniel match were 15-25, 19-25, 25-15, 25-17, 15-12. Set scores against Cabrini were 20-25, 9-25, 20-25. Haverford is now 14-9 overall on the season and 3-4 in Centennial Conference action following the pair of matches.

Haverford 3, McDaniel 2

With a raucous crowd on hand for a contest between two Centennial Conference contenders, Sara Matsumura and Natalie Pisch each recorded double-double efforts, with the pair contributing 20 kills each. Matsumura reached her career high kill total while Pisch was just four off her personal best in the category. Matsumura had 19 digs while Pisch added 15. Pisch hit a team best .271 in the game.

Haverford fell into early trouble as McDaniel outhit the Fords .286 to .075 in the first set. After the Fords trailed by just two at 11-9, the Green Terror unleashed a run to take a 20-12 lead, with Kennedy Barlond aiding a 5-0 run from the service line. The Fords were out of rhythm in the stanza, dropping a 25-15 decision. The second set saw the Fords battle back from a 7-2 deficit to trail by just one at 13-12 following a Matsumura kill. McDaniel signaled for timeout and was able to stay ahead for the remainder of the match, with the Fords within threatening distance throughout. McDaniel used an attack that hit .333 despite Haverford cutting the lead to just two as late as 20-18. A 3-1 run to end the set included two kills from Teryn Rath as the visitors looked poised to take a road win.

Haverford would not be fazed by the 0-2 hole, controlling the tempo of the third set by sprinting out to an 11-3 lead as Pisch gave the Fords an eight point lead with a kill. The lead stretched to 17-6 as Pisch and Claire Nicholas found the floor with kills. A block from Matsumura and Julia Gallagher-Teske gave the Fords a 20-8 lead, and Haverford would turn on the jets from there, hitting .333 in the set for a 25-15 victory.

The Fords pulled ahead 15-8 in the fourth set, extending the lead to 17-10 after a ball handling error from Green Terror setter Gayle Edelstein. McDaniel called for timeout down 19-12, but couldn't stop a renewed Fords attack that extended the lead to 20-12. McDaniel battled back to cut the Haverford lead to just five at 20-15, but the Fords took five of the last seven points, with Matsumura, Nicholas and Pisch leading the way offensively to force a decisive fifth game.

The fifth set was a battle through and through, with neither side giving an inch in the early goings. The Fords revved up the crowd with a block from Nicholas and Madison Adore to tie the score at 10-10, and a kill from Matsumura and a McDaniel error put Haverford up 12-10, prompting the Green Terror to talk things over with a timeout. Lauren Wells and Hayley Mills delivered a block to cut the lead to just one, but an attack error gave the Fords an 13-11 advantage. After a Mills kill, Matsumura delivered a solo block, an emphatic denial of an Edelstein attack that served as a microcosm of her outstanding match. Matsumura delivered the final kill to complete the comeback for Haverford. 

In addition to the offensive firepower from Matsumura and Pisch, Wong added 47 assists while five Fords had double-digit total in digs. Gallagher-Teske led the way with four total blocks. McDaniel was paced by Marlowe Embry with 17 kills while Wells had 22 assists. Taylor Bauman had 26 digs and Mills had five total blocks, a match-high. Haverford was out hit by McDaniel for the match, .178 to .162, but made the most of momentum, capitalizing on big moments to turn away the visitors.

Cabrini 3, Haverford 0

Later in the afternoon, Haverford faced off with a formidable Cabrini squad that came into the contest with an 18-4 record and an unblemished mark in conference play.  The Fords were locked in a close battle in the first set, with the score tied as as late as 16-16. Haverford took a brief 17-16 lead as Pisch tallied a kill, but Cabrini was able to push its lead to 21-18 with a service ace from Morgan Collito. Matsumura tallied a kill to cut the lead to 21-19, but the Fords would muster just one more point in the set, falling 25-20, despite just five errors in the stanza.

The second set was characterized by the serving prowess of Collito. With the Fords down 11-6 early, Collito was able to put the set away for the Cavaliers with a 10-0 run from the service line that included three aces. The Fords were able to stop the run as Matsumura delivered a kill, but the damage was done as the Cavaliers cruised to a 25-9 victory for a 2-0 lead. 

The Fords quickly put any negative thoughts from the second set behind them, staying close with Cabrini in the early part of the third set. An attack error from Chelsea Jones put the Fords down just one at 11-10, but after a kill from Emily Shannon allowed the visitors to side out, Collito returned to her service role, putting Cabrini ahead 17-10 with a 5-0 run. Haverford cut the lead to just 19-16 with a 3-0 run of its own, but a subsequent 3-0 run from Cabrini made the score 22-16 in favor of the visitors. Undaunted, Haverford cut the lead back to three with another 3-0 run, but Cabrini took a 25-20 win, securing the sweep.

Haverford was held to a .069 hitting percentage while Cabrini was able to convert at a .248 mark. Matsumura had 12 kills, a match-high, while Matsumura and Pisch each had 14 digs. Zoe Wong tallied 21 assists while Gallagher-Teske had three total blocks.

For Cabrini, Steph Judkins paced the team with nine kills. Collito provided the difference maker with eight kills on just 21 swings as well as five service aces. Emily Shannon had a team-best 13 digs while Olivi Blankenbiller registered 30 assists.

With a 3-4 record in Conference play, the Fords return to Centennial Conference action on Wednesday with eyes on evening that mark to a .500 record in Carlisle, Pa. against Dickinson. First serve is slated for 6 p.m.