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Muhlenberg College

Saturday, October 17, 2009 - page 3

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Trailing two sets to none and facing a Johns Hopkins team it hadn't beaten since 2001, the Muhlenberg volleyball team could have easily gone down without a fight.

But that's just not the way it's wired.

"We are a fighting team," said senior Christina Cangelosi. "We've been in that situation before and we know that just because you're down doesn't mean the match is over. We never gave up and just kept fighting."

Bryn Baker
Baker had 44 assists in the win, tied for her second-highest total of the season. The Mules are 5-1 when she has at least 38 assists.
The Mules (8-10, 3-3) fought all the way back to claim a thrilling 3-2 come-from-behind victory, winning the final three sets 25-18, 25-18 and 15-13.

"We played good side-out volleyball today," said Cangelosi. "If we made a mistake we went side-out right away and got the ball back."

That was evident even in the first set, which went back and forth until the very end. Johns Hopkins led 19-18 before pulling away and taking six of the last seven points. The Blue Jays held bigger leads in the second set and built themselves a 2-0 advantage with a 25-20 victory.

But just when it seemed the Mules were in danger of being swept and handed their eighth straight loss against Hopkins, that fighter's mentality kicked in.

Muhlenberg built a 13-8 lead in the third set thanks to a four-point run that included three Hopkins ball-handling errors and a block by senior Brittany Williams and sophomore Jackie Price. The Mules then went up 16-10 on the strength of three straight kills - one by senior Phylicia Lee and two by Price - and traded points the rest of the way to win the set.

Leading 12-11 in the fourth, another four-point run, which featured two Price kills and an ace by sophomore Davi Gordon, opened up a big lead for Muhlenberg. It grew to 19-14 with kills by freshmen Bryn Baker and Jennifer Seeba, and Seeba ended the set with another kill.

Having worked their way back from a 0-2 hole in sets to tie things up, it was only fitting that the Mules then had to come back from a large deficit in the fifth and final set. Muhlenberg trailed 7-3 but cut the deficit to 7-6 thanks in part to a Seeba block and a Williams kill.

Trailing 10-9, the Mules won five of the next six points to put themselves one point away from victory. But the Blue Jays (13-10, 2-5) proved that they, too, would not go down without a fight, as they rallied to make it 14-13. But Price's ninth kill of the match lifted the Mules to a dramatic win.

Gordon finished with 12 kills, 16 digs and three aces, while Lee added 11 kills and 21 digs. Cangelosi had a match-high 24 digs and Price posted eight blocks for the second straight match.

"We played as a team today," said Cangelosi. "Our defense was strong, our blocking was good and our hitters were on."

The victory helped the Mules keep pace with the rest of the Centennial Conference's playoff contenders. With a non-conference match against Susquehanna on Tuesday and then four straight CC matches to close out the regular season, including showdowns with second-place Franklin & Marshall and fourth-place Gettsysburg, Muhlenberg has more than a fighting chance to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2001.

"We know it's not going to be an easy road, but if we keep playing the way we are capable of we know we can win," said Cangelosi. "We just need to keep that mentality and keep fighting."
Click here for box score.

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