SCRANTON, Pa. – Senior Caileigh Cox (Randolph, N.J./Randolph) became the eighth player in program history to hit the 2,000 career assist milestone and The University of Scranton volleyball team (18-9) notched a pair of non-conference victories over Manhattanville (18-6) and Shenandoah (8-13) on Saturday afternoon at the John Long Center in Scranton.
The Royals notched a four set win over Manhattanville and closed out the day with a sweep of the Hornets.
Scranton 3, Manhattanville 1 (25-13, 25-16, 21-25, 27-25)
Scranton raced out to an early 11-4 lead in the first set and after a Valiants rally that cut the lead to four at 13-9, the hosts answered with five straight points and took an 18-9 lead. From there, the Royals cruised to the 25-13 victory in set one as three straight attacking errors sealed the win.
Holding a 12-8 lead in the second set, a Manhattanville service error ignited a run of Scranton taking seven of the next eight points to stretch the advantage to 19-9. Following a quick 6-0 spurt for the Valiants that cut the lead to 19-15, the Royals registered six of the final seven points for the 25-16 victory and a two set lead.
The two teams traded points for much of the third set and a kill from senior Abby Rzucidlo (Garnet Valley, Pa./Ursuline Academy) brought the Royals within one at 19-18, but Manhattanville was able to respond by taking four of the next five points and held on for the 25-21 win.
The Valiants would use the momentum to open a 14-10 lead in the fourth set, but consecutive kills by senior Carah Vitkus (Mahopac, N.Y./Mahopac) helped even things for the Royals at 14 apiece. After Scranton took a 23-20 lead, Manhattanville battled back to even things at 24 apiece before the Royals took three of the final four points to seal a 27-25 victory and the match.
Vitkus led the way offensively with 13 kills, while sophomore Erin Keaveney (Collegeville, Pa./Villa Maria Academy) added eight of her own. Cox helped set up the attack with 33 assists and also added 15 digs.
Freshman Maddie Forry (Reading, Pa./Exeter Township) paced Scranton with a match-high 20 digs.
Scranton 3, Shenandoah 0 (25-8, 26-24, 25-21)
After the two teams split the first four points of the match, sophomore Sophia Hadjiyane (Huntington, N.Y./John Glenn) delivered a kill to ignite a six point run and an early 8-2 lead in the first set. Shenandoah was unable to get any closer than five the rest of the way and the Royals took eight of the final 10 points including five straight to close out a 25-8 win.
The Hornets took the first five points of the second set and held a 12-4 lead, but the Royals slowly began to battle back and a kill by sophomore Catherine O'Sullivan (Port Washington, N.Y./Paul D. Schreiber) brought things within three at 15-12. From there, Scranton tied things at 19 apiece and eventually held on for the 26-24 win after a kill by O'Sullivan and a service ace from Forry.
Shenandoah had a slight 19-18 edge in the third and final set before the Royals took three straight and seven of the final nine to close out the sweep with the 25-21 victory.
Freshman Deanna Whelpley (Congers, N.Y./Immaculate Heart Academy) led Scranton with 10 kills and the duo of O'Sullivan and Rzucidlo had six apiece. Three different players had 11 or more assists for head coach Jamie Spangler's team as Cox and junior Ryann Hoffman (Rockville Centre, N.Y./South Side) had 12, while sophomore Gianna Detorie (Rumford, R.I./Bishop Feehan) added 11.
Forry once again led the Royals with 17 digs.
Prior to the Shenandoah match, the Royals honored the senior class of Cox, Rzucidlo, Vitkus and Emma Profitlich (East Rockaway, N.Y./Sacred Heart Academy).
The University of Scranton volleyball team will host Susquehanna in a crucial Landmark Conference match on Tuesday night at the John Long Center with first serve slated for 7 p.m.