LANCASTER, Pa. – Franklin & Marshall got 28 kills from Ellie Ezekiel in a dramatic come-from-behind 3-2 victory over Muhlenberg in the Centennial Conference (CC) opener for both teams. The win took the Diplomats to 7-6 on the year and 1-0 in the conference, while the Mules fell to 9-4 and 0-1 on the season.
Following Muhlenberg victories in the two opening sets, F&M took control in the middle of the third with a 13-6 run that opened up a 17-10 lead. The Mules fought back to as close as 21-16, but four straight points from Shae Murphy's serve gave the Diplomats the set, 25-16.
The Diplomats hit an impressive .488 in the set, logging 21 kills as a team on just one error. Murphy had two aces in the set.
The following frame continued F&M's dominance, taking a 9-3 lead in the early going. Strong serving from Mary Leneweaver extended the lead to 16-5 and the Diplomats never looked back, winning the set 25-14.
Ezekiel hammered 11 kills in the set, as F&M hit .387 as a team to force the deciding fifth set.
The final set proved to be the closest of the night, and the Diplomats faced a narrow 13-12 deficit late on. Again it was Ezekiel getting the job done, this time with the serve, as F&M rallied to win the set 15-13. Barbara Kapustin claimed kills on the final two points to close out the match, giving her 11 for the night.
The Diplomats continued their hot hitting in the fifth, posting a .464 average from 14 kills on just one error.
Ezekiel notched a career-high 28 kills on the evening, committing just one error in 54 attempts. The 28 kills are good for fourth all-time in F&M matches, and second all-time in five-set matches. Her .500 hitting average places her in a tie for 5th place in all matches.
The defense was led by Alyssa Sanchez, who managed a season-high 26 digs in the victory.
F&M returns to action on Saturday by traveling to Collegeville, Pa. for matches against Ursinus at 11:00 a.m. and Arcadia at 1:00 p.m.