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The University of Scranton Athletics

Volleyball Rallies to Top Susquehanna in Five Set Thriller

Photo by: ZJ Morse
Photo by: ZJ Morse

SCRANTON, Pa. – The University of Scranton volleyball team (19-9, 5-0 Landmark) rallied to take the final two sets and took down the Susquehanna River Hawks (14-13, 3-2 Landmark) by a score of 3-2 in a five set thriller on Tuesday night at the John Long Center in Scranton.

With the win, the Royals remain unbeaten in Landmark Conference play at 5-0 with two conference matches remaining.

Scranton took the first four points of the match and opened up an 11-5 lead in the first set following a Susquehanna attack error. The River Hawks sliced the lead in half and made it 12-9 before five straight Royals ace including two service aces by junior Stephanie Margolies (Westfield, N.J./Westfield) stretched the lead to 17-9. However, the visitors responded with seven consecutive points to cut the lead to 17-16, but Scranton took eight of the final 11 points and a River Hawks' attack error closed out the 25-19 win for head coach Jamie Spangler's team.

Susquehanna was able to rally to even the match in the second set as they recorded the first 10 points and 12 of the first 15 for a 12-3 lead. Despite a rally by the Royals that brought them within five on two occasions, the River Hawks picked up the 25-16 victory.

Through the first part of the third set, the two sides battled to a 13 all deadlock before Susquehanna took the next six points for a 19-13 advantage and took a one set lead with a 25-19 victory following a kill from Kody Dillon.

A kill by sophomore Sophia Hadjiyane (Huntington, N.Y./John Glenn) gave Scranton a 16-9 lead in the fourth set, but the River Hawks would not go quietly and fought back to cut the lead to two at 19-17. From there, senior Abby Rzucidlo (Garnet Valley, Pa./Ursuline Academy) delivered a pair of kills and classmate Carah Vitkus (Mahopac, N.Y./Mahopac) forced a decisive fifth set with a service ace in the 25-21 win.

After the two teams split the first four points of the afore-mentioned fifth set, a River Hawks' attack error marked the beginning of six straight points for Scranton and Hadjiyane made it 8-2 with a kill. Susquehanna managed to cut the lead to 14-11 in the late stages of the fifth and final set before Rzucidlo finished things off with a kill.

Margolies led a balanced attack with 16 kills and the Royals featured five players that had nine or more kills with a season-high 10 from Rzucidlo and nine apiece by the trio of Hadjiyane, Vitkus and sophomore Erin Keaveney (Collegeville, Pa./Villa Maria Academy). Senior Caileigh Cox (Randolph, N.J./Randolph) also played a key role offensively with 45 assists.

Freshman Maddie Forry (Reading, Pa./Exeter Township) paced the Royals defensively with 35 digs, her second highest total of the season, and Vitkus added 12.

Rosina Esposito had 20 kills to lead Susquehanna in the setback.

The University of Scranton volleyball team will host Stevens in the regular season home finale on Friday night at the John Long Center with first serve set for 7 p.m.

--ROYALS--