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The University of Scranton Athletics

Balanced Attack Leads Volleyball Past St. John Fisher in NCAA Tournament First Round

Photo Credit: Michael Last
Photo Credit: Michael Last

Postmatch Press Conference 

MEDFORD, Mass. – Sophomore Erin Keaveney (Collegeville, Pa./Villa Maria Academy) led the way with a match-high 13 kills and The University of Scranton volleyball team (22-12) rolled to a 3-0 sweep of St. John Fisher (21-8) in NCAA Tournament First Round action on Thursday afternoon at Cousens Gymnasium on the campus of Tufts University.

With the victory, the Royals advance to Friday's Round of 32 matchup against the winner of MIT/Maine Maritime. First serve is slated for 4:30 p.m.

This marks the second NCAA Tournament victory in program history for Scranton following a 3-0 sweep of Stockton in 1999.

St. John Fisher took the first three points and six of the first nine for an early 6-3 lead in the first set before a kill by Keaveney ignited a 7-1 run for the Royals and the Collegeville, Pa., native capped things off with another kill for a 10-7 advantage. The Cardinals battled back to even things at 10 apiece, but junior Stephanie Margolies (Westfield, N.J./Westfield) slammed home a kill to restore the Scranton lead, one that they would not relinquish.

Despite the Cardinals drawing within one on several occasions including at 17-16, a service error marked the start of four straight points and eight of the 11 in the set for the Royals to seal the 25-20 win.

In the second set, St. John Fisher grabbed an early 5-1 lead before four straight points from Scranton including a service ace by senior Caileigh Cox (Randolph, N.J./Randolph) which deadlocked things at five. The two teams traded points for a majority of the set and things were tied at 12 when fellow senior Carah Vitkus (Mahopac, N.Y./Mahopac) delivered a kill to start a stretch where Scranton took four of the next five points for a 16-13 lead. From there, the Cardinals could not get any closer than two the rest of the way and the Royals closed out the 25-19 win with four straight points as senior Abby Rzucidlo (Garnet Valley, Pa./Ursuline Academy) sealed the victory with a kill.

Scranton took an early 8-4 lead in the third set after consecutive kills by Keaveney and led 11-6 before St. John Fisher was able to cut the lead to three at 12-9. Sophomore Sophia Hadjiyane (Huntington, N.Y./John Glenn) then came through with a kill to begin a stretch where the Royals took 13 of the final 15 points of the match including six straight to finish the sweep as a Margolies kill clinched the 25-11 victory.

Keaveney led the Royals offensively with 13 kills, while Vitkus added 10 of her own and Hadjiyane tallied nine. Cox registered a match-high 34 assists and added her 13th double-double of the season as she also added 14 digs, which was tied for the team lead along with Vitkus.

Freshman Camryn Hoffman (Rockville Centre, N.Y./South Side) also added 13 digs in the victory for the Royals.

Sydney French paced St. John Fisher with nine kills in the setback.