ALLENTOWN, Pa. – Despite a second set victory that saw the Fords tally 20 kills in a 35-33 barn burner, the Haverford College volleyball team (4-9, 0-1 CC) came up short against Muhlenberg (10-3, 1-1 CC) in Centennial Conference action on Wednesday evening at Memorial Hall. Muhlenberg, a team receiving votes in the AVCA national poll, prevailed 3-1 in the match. Set scores were 25-21, 33-35, 25-13, 25-18. The Fords were led by three players with double-digit kill totals. Natalie Pisch had 14 to lead the way while Riley Outen (12 kills) and Dina Kosyagin (10 kills) also helped the offensive effort.
The first set went the way of the Mules after Haverford brought the score to within just one at 15-14 as Outen delivered a kill. Muhlenberg unleashed a 5-0 run to take a 20-14 advantage, but the Fords closed back to within four at 21-17. Haverford forced a Mules timeout down two at 23-21, but Muhlenberg followed with back-to-back kills from Tara Register and Maggie Enestveldt to secure the set at 25-21.
Haverford opened the second set with a 17-12 lead and ultimately found themselves up 22-19 following a kill from Kosyagin. Muhlenberg went on a run to take a 23-22 lead but a block from Julia Gallagher-Teske and Sara Hunsberger tied things up at 23-23. Haverford had set point up 24-23 following a Muhlenberg attack error, but the Mules had an answer. In what became a common theme in the set, Haverford fended off set point before having a chance to put things away on four occasions. A block from Outen and Gallagher-Teske put Haverford up 34-33 and Outen finally finished things off with a kill to tie the match at a set apiece with the 35-33 victory.
Muhlenberg took the third set behind a match-best .222 hitting percentage in the stanza. The Fords were within one as late as 9-8 but the Mules closed out the set on a 9-0 run as Madison Forrest made her presence felt at the service line in a 25-13 triumph. The Fords got right back to work in the fourth, jetting out to an early 11-9 lead behind yet another block from Gallagher-Teske and Hunsberger. The match was knotted up at 14-14 before Muhlenberg opened up an 18-14 advantage, prompting a Haverford timeout. Muhlenberg grew its lead to 21-16, causing the Fords to again call for timeout, looking to regroup before the match ended on a kill from Kelly Tornetta at 25-18.
Hunsberger notched a double-double with 36 assists while also contributing 15 digs. Sara Matsumura led four Fords in double-digit dig totals with 19. Gallagher-Teske contributed six total blocks, extending her Centennial Conference lead in the category to 55. Isabel Schwam and Matsumura each recorded a pair of service aces on the evening. Register paced Muhlenberg with 15 kills while Shannon Hubert contributed 39 assists.
Haverford returns to Centennial Conference action on Saturday at noon against Franklin & Marshall. The tri-match will also feature a contest against Alvernia slated for 4 p.m.