F&M Takes Down Muhlenberg; Captures CC Top Seed

F&M Takes Down Muhlenberg; Captures CC Top Seed

LANCASTER, Pa. – The Franklin & Marshall volleyball team defeated Muhlenberg 3-1 on Wednesday evening at the Mayser Center, securing the Centennial Conference (CC) regular season title for the second-straight season. 

The Diplomats improved their record to 23-4, 10-0 CC with the victory and will once again host the CC playoffs, beginning next Saturday in Lancaster. The Mules fell to 18-10, 7-2 CC with the loss.

A back-and-forth battle ensued in the opening set as neither team pulled ahead by more than two points until a Gabrielle Connor kill put F&M up 15-12. Muhlenberg fought back to take an 18-16 lead until four-straight points from the Diplomats reclaimed the lead for F&M at 20-18.

Later in the frame and with the score tied at 25-25, kills from Emily Gerard and Julie Harvey propelled the Diplomats to a nail-biting 27-25 win.

The drama from the opening set carried over to the second with four lead changes occurring in the first 12 points of the frame. Tied at 6-6, the Mules went up by one on an attack error from F&M. The score was tied at seven different points through the remainder of the set, however the Diplomats were unable to retake the lead until a kill from Ellie Ezekiel late in the set put F&M up by one at 27-26.    

Muhlenberg followed by capturing the final three points to take the third by a 29-27 score, and evening the match at 1-1. The Diplomats jumped out to a quick 10-3 lead in the third and maintained a comfortable margin until the latter half of the frame. 

With F&M up 24-15, the Mules took four-straight points to close the gap to three at 24-19. However, a Harvey kill ended the Muhlenberg threat and wrapped up a 25-19 win to give the Diplomats a 2-1 advantage in the match. 

In the fourth, the Mules took an early 3-0 lead until a 9-4 run put F&M out in front at 12-7. The Diplomats maintained a sizeable advantage until a late run from Muhlenberg cut the lead down to 21-20. 

F&M responded with wins in three of the next four points to push the lead to three at 24-21. The Mules kept hope alive with a 4-1 run of their own to tie the set at 25-25, however a kill from Harvey followed by a Parys Zambas ace on match point delivered the 27-25 win. 

Harvey led the way with 18 kills and a .412 hitting percentage. Gerard (15) and Katie Foreman (10) also reached double-digit kills for a Diplomats' offense that combined to hit .230 over four sets. 

Reigning CC Player of the Week Caroline Hubbard racked up 49 assists and added 11 digs for the defense.  Alyssa Sanchez collected 21 digs, followed by 13 from Ezekiel.

The Diplomats return to the court on Saturday for a trimatch, hosted by York. Game one kicks off at 3:00 p.m. against Salisbury, followed by a 5:00 p.m. matchup with the Spartans.