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Muhlenberg College

Friday, October 30, 2009

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Field hockey

VOLLEYBALL DOES WORK, NEARS PLAYOFF BERTH

For as complicated as volleyball can be sometimes, the Muhlenberg volleyball team’s rallying cry coming out of huddles this season has been as simple as it gets: Do work.

Facing one of the top teams in the Centennial Conference and needing a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, the Mules did their best work of the year, rallying from down 2 sets to 1 to defeat Gettysburg 3-2.

Brittany Williams
Williams and the rest of the Mules won an incredible 14 out of 15 points to end the fourth set and begin the fifth.
Muhlenberg (11-12, 6-4) pounded its way past Gettysburg (18-8, 7-3) in the final two sets, winning 25-14 and 15-8 to complete a thrilling comeback in front of a rowdy home crowd.

“We love a big crowd,” said sophomore Davi Gordon. “It was a great atmosphere and we’re glad we could get a win for them today.”

Of course, the Mules not only were glad to get a win for the fans, but also for their five seniors – Christina Cangelosi, Amy Cohen, Liz Dean, Phylicia Lee and Brittany Williams – who, if the standings hold up, will have at least one more match in their celebrated careers.

“We didn’t want this to be their last match,” said Gordon. “Without all of them we wouldn’t be the team that we are today. They all work so hard, whether they are on the court or on the sideline, and that’s why we love them.”

Muhlenberg fed off the crowd’s energy in the early going, building a 5-1 lead in the first set. The lead grew to as much as 19-13 before Gettysburg battled back, cutting the deficit to 23-21 with three straight points. But a Gordon kill ended the Bullets’ rally and helped the Mules take an early lead.

Gettysburg took the second set 25-18 and then took the third 25-23 in a back-and-forth battle. Having just lost a close set and trailing 2-1 to an excellent team, the Mules appeared to be in danger of being eliminated from postseason contention. So they gathered in the middle of the court for one more pep talk.

Bryn Baker
Baker recorded 42 assists in the match, giving her 697 on the season, a new school record for a freshman.
“We just said to each other, ‘We have nothing to lose at this point. This could be the seniors’ last match and we don’t want it to end that way,’” said Gordon. “After that everyone worked hard and contributed and we got the job done.”

Leading 15-12 in the fourth set, it was two of those seniors who helped the Mules open an insurmountable lead. Muhlenberg won three straight points on a kill by Williams and back-to-back kills by Lee, then Lee added another kill to make it 19-13. Leading 20-14, the Mules rattled off five straight points – which included another Lee kill, a kill by freshman Jennifer Seeba and two aces from freshman Bryn Baker – to take the set and tie the match.

The Mules continued their incredible run in the fifth and final set. After Gettysburg took the first point, Muhlenberg won nine straight points, in which Seeba contributed two kills and two blocks, to build an enormous lead.

Trailing 12-2, Gettysburg went on a run of its own, rattling off five straight points, but it was too little too late. Sophomore Jackie Price and Williams hammered kills to end the Bullets’ rally, and the Mules took the set 15-8.

Seeba hit a remarkable .545 in the match, recording 14 kills and just two errors in 22 attempts, and added a match-best four blocks. Williams also posted 14 kills to go along with 15 digs, while Lee had 10 kills and 17 digs. Cangelosi recorded a match-high 25 digs.

The victory puts the Mules in excellent position to claim the fifth and final seed in the CC playoffs. If nationally ranked Haverford (27-3, 9-0) wins tomorrow against McDaniel (16-11, 5-4), the Mules are in and will travel to Swarthmore on Wednesday for the first round.

“We definitely want a rematch against Swarthmore,” said Gordon. “When they came here we didn’t play our best volleyball that day. If we have the opportunity again, we’ll be ready. We just need to stay focused and do work.”
Click here for box score.

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