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The University of Scranton Athletics

Volleyball Splits Pair of Matches with Muhlenberg & LVC; Finishes 2-1 at Scranton Invitational

© Photo by Timothy R. Dougherty / doubleeaglephotography.com
© Photo by Timothy R. Dougherty / doubleeaglephotography.com

SCRANTON, Pa. – The University of Scranton volleyball team (2-1) split a pair of matches with Muhlenberg (1-1) and Lebanon Valley (2-0) on Saturday at the John Long Center as part of the annual season-opening Scranton Invitational.

The Royals took a 3-1 decision over Muhlenberg to start the day before dropping a five set heartbreaker to the Flying Dutchmen to close out the weekend.

Scranton 3, Muhlenberg 1 (25-16, 18-25, 25-22, 25-16)

After the two teams split the first two sets, Scranton was able to escape with a tight 25-22 win in the third set before rolling to a 25-16 win in the fourth and final set to seal the match.

The first set was also a 25-16 win for the Royals as they scored the first five and last six points of the set including three consecutive kills from junior Stephanie Margolies (Westfield, N.J./Westfield) to close things out. In the second set, both teams traded points for a majority of the set and Muhlenberg held a 16-14 lead before notching the next eight points to even the match at one set apiece.

After the Mules opened up a 12-8 lead in the third set, Scranton answered with the next five points to take back control and eventually opened up a 19-14 advantage after a kill by sophomore Erin Keaveney (Collegeville, Pa./Villa Maria Academy). Muhlenberg would battle back to even things at 19 before a late run from the Royals including two more Keaveney kills led to the 25-22 win.

Head coach Jamie Spangler's team proved to be dominant for much of the fourth set and ripped off the first 10 points of the set. From there, the Mules were unable to get any closer than seven and Keaveney slammed home one of her nine kills to clinch the match.

Senior Carah Vitkus (Mahopac, N.Y./Mahopac) paced the attack for the Royals with 15 kills to go along with 11 apiece from Margolies and sophomore Sophia Hadjiyane (Huntington, N.Y./John Glenn). Elsewhere, senior Caileigh Cox (Randolph, N.J./Randolph) posted 49 assists, five kills and five digs in the victory.

Defensively, freshman Maddie Forry (Reading, Pa./Exeter Township) led the way with 23 digs and senior Abby Rzucidlo (Garnet Valley, Pa./Ursuline Academy) chipped in with 15 digs and two block assists.

Lebanon Valley 3, Scranton 2 (25-22, 25-18, 24-26, 20-25, 12-15)

The Royals held an early two set lead with victories of 25-22 and 25-18, but Lebanon Valley was able to rally to take the final three sets including a 15-12 decision in the fifth and final set.

Things were even at 20 apiece in the first set when three straight kills from the Royals paved the way for a set-ending service error and the 25-22 win. Scranton raced out to an early 12-6 advantage in the second set and the Mules never got closer than four points (13-9) before consecutive kills from Hadjiyane and Vitkus closed out the set.

The third set was even for much of the way and the Flying Dutchmen held a 22-19 advantage in the late stages, but a brief 3-0 spurt for Scranton capped by a Cox service ace evened things at 22 apiece. The match was once again even at 24, before the visitors got the final two points to remain alive in the match.

From there, Lebanon Valley rallied from an early six point deficit in the fourth set and took five of the final six points to force the decisive fifth set with the 25-20 victory. In the afore-mentioned fifth set, the two teams traded blows and the set was deadlocked at 10 before Scranton opened up a slight 12-11 edge, but the Flying Dutchmen were able to tally the final four points and complete the comeback.

Margolies paced Scranton with 15 kills in the match, while Vitkus added 14 and Keaveney contributed 10 of her own. Cox once again was impressive in setting up the attack with 50 assists to go along with 10 digs on the evening.

Forry registered a match-high 27 digs and Vitkus had 19 for the Royals.

For their efforts on the weekend, Cox and Vitkus were named to the Scranton Invitational All-Tournament Team.

The University of Scranton volleyball team returns to action on Friday as they take on Christopher Newport at the Mary Washington Invitational with first serve slated for 6 p.m.

--ROYALS--