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The University of Scranton Athletics

Volleyball Rallies to Top Southwestern (Tex.) in Five Set Thriller; Splits Pair of Matches at Trinity Invitational

Photo by: Timothy R. Dougherty / Double Eagle Photography
Photo by: Timothy R. Dougherty / Double Eagle Photography

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – The University of Scranton volleyball team (4-5) split a pair of matches to wrap up action at the Trinity Invitational on Saturday afternoon at the Bell Center in San Antonio.

The Royals started off the day with a thrilling five set victory over Southwestern (Tex.) (3-6) as they took the final two sets including a wild 19-17 victory in the decisive fifth set. Southwestern was receiving votes in the most recent AVCA Top 25 that was released earlier this week.

This evening, Scranton battled in all three sets, but dropped a 3-0 decision to No. 3 Trinity (Tex.) (8-2) to close out the weekend.

Scranton 3, Southwestern (Tex.) 2 (25-21, 17-25, 16-25, 25-22, 19-17)

The two teams traded points for a majority of the first set and things were tied at 15 apiece before the Royals took four of the next five points capped by a kill from sophomore Sophia Hadjiyane (Huntington, N.Y./John Glenn) that made it a 19-16 game for the time being. Southwestern was able to cut the lead to 22-20, but the Royals held on for the 25-21 win.

In the second set, Scranton held a 15-11 lead when the Pirates ignited an 8-0 run to open up a 19-15 advantage and eventually evened the match with the 25-17 victory. The Pirates were able to take a 14-7 lead in the third set and despite the Royals fighting back within six on a couple of occasions, they held on for a 25-16 win and a 2-1 match lead.

Southwestern held a 19-15 match in the fourth set when a kill from senior Carah Vitkus (Mahopac, N.Y./Mahopac) marked the beginning of the Scranton comeback and sophomore Ashley Bolan (Schwenksville, Pa./Perkiomen Valley) delivered a service ace to even the match at 20 apiece. From there, junior Stephanie Margolies (Westfield, N.J./Westfield) and senior Abby Rzucidlo (Garnet Valley, Pa./Ursuline Academy) came through with a block assist to create a set point opportunity for the Royals before Margolies slammed home a kill to finish things off at 25-22.

The decisive fifth set was another back and forth affair as freshman Camryn Hoffman (Rockville Centre, N.Y./South Side) made it 10-6 in favor of Scranton with a service ace, but the Pirates took the next four points to create a 10 all deadlock. Neither team would lead by more than two the rest of the way and things were even at 17 when Margolies delivered a kill to restore the Scranton lead and a Pirates attack error sealed the five set win.

Vitkus led the Royals with 19 kills in the victory and Margolies added 16 of her own, while senior setter Caileigh Cox (Randolph, N.J./Randolph) added 38 assists. The trio of Bolan, Cox and Margolies all chipped in with two service aces apiece.

Cox also contributed 17 digs to go along with 19 from freshman Maddie Forry (Reading, Pa./Exeter Township). 

Trinity (Tex.) 3, Scranton 0 (16-25, 12-25, 15-25)

Despite a valiant effort from the Royals, the No. 3 ranked Tigers took control of the first set with a 6-0 run that turned an 11-7 lead into a 17-7 edge. Vitkus added a pair of service aces in the closing stages of the set, but Trinity took the first set at 25-16.

Early in the second set, the Tigers took 10 of the first 11 points and led 10-1 for the time being. Scranton was able to draw back within six points on three occasions (14-8, 15-9, 16-10) before another Trinity run paved the way for the 25-12 victory.

The Royals held an early 7-5 lead in the third set as Cox delivered an assist on a kill from sophomore Catherine O'Sullivan (Port Washington, N.Y./Paul D. Schreiber), but the Tigers would battle back to take a two point lead of their own at 16-14 and eventually stretched the lead to 22-14 before the 25-15 win.

Freshman Deanna Whelpley (Congers, N.Y./Immaculate Heart Academy) paced the Royals with eight kills and the duo of Hadjiyane and Vitkus added five apiece. Cox once again set up the attack throughout the match with 23 assists as she surpassed the 1,500 career assist mark and ranks ninth all-time in program history with 1,512. 

Defensively, Forry had 13 digs in the setback.

For Trinity, Hallie Martin led the way with 13 kills.

Scranton's road trip continues on Wednesday at Ithaca with first serve slated for 6 p.m.

--ROYALS--