F&M Faces Top-Ranked Teams; Drops Two

F&M Faces Top-Ranked Teams; Drops Two

ATLANTA, Ga. – Franklin & Marshall travelled to the Emory National Invitational for two matches against top-notch competition on Friday, losing 3-0 (25-16, 25-16, 25-18) to Calvin and 3-1 (25-19, 25-19, 22-25, 25-17) to Emory. The losses dropped the Diplomats to 5-5 on the year. 

In the first match, No. 2 Calvin jumped out to a 4-0 advantage, building that lead to as much as six at 11-5. However, F&M did not go away, countering with three straight points from Ellie Ezekiel's serve to pull within 11-9. The Diplomats stayed close for the majority of the set, until at 20-16 the Knights pulled away to take the opener, 25-16.

F&M posted its best hitting percentage of the match in the second, getting eight kills from five different players on just two errors. The Diplomats used that offense in the early going as the teams remained tied, 5-5. The Knights then used a 13-5 run over the middle of the set to lead by as much as eight at 18-10. F&M slowed the run but was unable to stop Calvin on its way to a 25-16 victory in the frame.

The third set began with another strong Calvin start, jumping out to an 18-10 lead. The Diplomats fought back to within 20-14, but the Knights never looked back and took the final set 25-18.

Ezekiel lead a balanced F&M attack with six kills, followed by Barbara Kapustin with five.

Alyssa Sanchez earned 10 digs in the effort.

Later in the day, F&M took on No. 1 Emory as the Diplomats again squared off with elite opposition.

The third set saw F&M post its highest hitting percentage of the day as the Diplomats hit a red-hot .452 with 16 kills on just two errors. Both Ezekiel and Kapustin logged five kills in the set as F&M fought back from a 12-8 deficit to win its first match of the day. It was just the fourth set that Emory had dropped all year.

It was otherwise difficult to get anything going against the No. 1 Eagles, who used an 11-4 run in the first to win, 25-19.

The second frame began evenly, with the scored remaining tied at 11-11. However, the Eagles again used a massive run to open a 24-16 lead before taking the set, 25-19.

After F&M's strong third, Emory was determined to regain momentum and opened a modest 11-7 lead in the early stages of the fourth. From there, the Eagles used another trademark run to finish out the match and set, 25-17.

Ezekiel again led the way with 13 kills, followed once more by Kapustin with 12. Rachel Umberger chipped in eight while Cassie Garison managed seven for the Diplomats.

Allison Edelstein claimed 37 of F&M's 45 total assists, while Sanchez (18) and Ezekiel (12) reached double digits in digs.

The Diplomats return to action tomorrow against Wheaton (Ill.) at 10:00 a.m. before facing No. 10 Claremont at 2:00 p.m.