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.
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.
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.