SCRANTON, Pa. – The No. 2 seed University of Scranton volleyball team (21-11) held off a late rally by No. 3 seed Elizabethtown (23-7) in the first set and rolled to a 3-0 sweep of the Blue Jays in Landmark Conference semifinal action on Wednesday night at the John Long Center in Scranton.
With the victory, the Royals advance to a second straight Landmark title game and fourth in program history as they will hit the road to battle top seeded Juniata on Saturday at 7 p.m. The Eagles are ranked No. 2 in the latest AVCA Top 25.
Scranton 3, Elizabethtown 0 (25-23, 25-20, 25-19)
In the first set, the Royals were hot out of the gate and took 10 of the first 13 points before eventually grabbing a 17-9 advantage. However, Elizabethtown used a service error to ignite a rally and cut the lead to two on a couple of different occasions including 22-20. The Blue Jays then took three of the next four points to even things at 23 apiece, but sophomore Sophia Hadjiyane (Huntington, N.Y./John Glenn) closed things out for Scranton with consecutive kills for the 25-23 win.
The Royals led 15-10 in the second set when a four point run for the Blue Jays brought things back within one at 15-14. A kill by senior Carah Vitkus (Mahopac, N.Y./Mahopac) helped the hosts answer with the next three points to take an 18-14 lead and Elizabethtown was unable to get any closer than two the rest of the way as fellow senior Abby Rzucidlo (Garnet Valley, Pa./Ursuline Academy) sealed the 25-20 victory with a kill.
ETown took six of the first nine points in the third set, but a service error helped set the stage for Scranton to take the next six points behind a trio of kills from Vitkus during the run. The two teams would then trade points for a majority of the remainder of the set and the Blue Jays erased an 18-15 deficit with four straight points to take a 19-18 lead. A Vitkus kill tied things at 19 and sophomore Ashley Bolan (Schwenksville, Pa./Perkiomen Valley) then came on to serve and came through with a pair of aces as part of seven straight points to complete the sweep with a 25-19 win.
Vitkus led the Royals offensively with 14 kills, while junior Stephanie Margolies (Westfield, N.J./Westfield) added nine and sophomore Erin Keaveney (Collegeville, Pa./Villa Maria Academy) had eight. Senior Caileigh Cox (Randolph, N.J./Randolph) tallied 33 assists in the match and also added eight digs.
Head coach Jamie Spangler's team recorded 11 service aces on the night as four players had two or more with three from Margolies and two apiece from the trio of Bolan, Vitkus and freshman Maddie Forry (Reading, Pa./Exeter Township).
Forry paced Scranton defensively with a match-high 20 digs.
The Blue Jays were led by 10 kills from Bryanna Miller.
A full preview of Saturday's Landmark title game will be posted on Friday at athletics.scranton.edu.