A season that looked to be in jeopardy after a 4-9 start turned into one of the most successful in program history for the Muhlenberg volleyball team.
The Mules closed out the regular season with a 7-3 record to capture their first berth in the Centennial Conference playoffs since 2001. Though they lost a hard-fought match to fourth-seeded Swarthmore in the first round, the Mules proved that they belonged in the postseason despite an 11-13 overall mark.
Lee led the Mules in kills in 13 of 24 matches. She became the first Mule to be named All-CC in back-to-back years since 2005.
Muhlenberg dropped four of its first five matches before snapping out of its early-season funk at the Buttermaker Tournament. The Mules defeated Neumann 3-2 and York 3-0 to reach the finals, where they fell to eventual CC champion Haverford.
A fall break trip to Texas came in the midst of another 1-4 stretch, but after a second defeat at the hands of Haverford, things turned around for Muhlenberg.
The Mules topped Dickinson and Moravian 3-1 at home and traveled to Washington for a 3-0 victory. After a close loss to Swarthmore, Muhlenberg won three straight sets for a thrilling 3-2 come-from-behind win at Johns Hopkins, its first victory over the Blue Jays since 2001.
After dropping two of their next three, the Mules appeared to be in danger of missing the playoffs. But a 3-0 victory over Ursinus set up a critical contest against third-place Gettysburg.
Needing a win to have any shot at the postseason, the Mules rallied from down two sets to one to beat the Bullets. Muhlenberg controlled the final two sets, winning 25-14 and 15-8, and at one point won 14 of 15 points to close the fourth and open the fifth.
Cangelosi recorded double-digit digs in every match this season. She eclipsed her previous career high of 30 digs on three different occasions, setting a new career-best of 36 in a four-set match against Endicott.
Haverford's defeat of McDaniel the following day gave the Mules the fifth and final playoff spot. Seeking revenge against Swarthmore for its loss earlier in the season, Muhlenberg took a 1-0 lead with a 25-15 victory in the first set. But the Garnet stormed back to take the final three sets and end the Mules' season.
Senior Christina Cangelosi had a record-breaking season at libero. Cangelosi broke the school record for career digs with 1,434, and her 522 on the season were the second-most in team history. She led the CC and finished 25th in the NCAA in digs per set with 5.98. Cangelosi was named to the All-Centennial Conference first team, the Mules' first first-team selection since 2005.
Senior hitter Phylicia Lee received All-CC honorable mention. Lee led Muhlenberg in kills (240) and service aces (34) and was second in digs (304) and third in blocks (33). She finished her career in the top 15 on the program's all-time lists in kills (ninth with 729), digs (11th with 987) and aces (eighth with 125).
The Mules' third playing senior, Brittany Williams, also enjoyed a tremendous final season. Williams finished second on the team in kills per set (2.04) and digs per set (3.46). She graduates ranked in the top 20 in Muhlenberg history in career kills (16th with 424) and digs (18th with 586).
Williams recorded four double-doubles on the season, including a 16-kill, 24-dig performance in a 3-2 win over Wilkes.
Sophomore Davi Gordon joined Lee and Williams at outside hitter. Playing through an injury, Gordon averaged 1.83 kills per set and 3.14 digs per set. Junior Brooke McQueen played in 59 sets at hitter.
Sophomore Jackie Price and freshman Jennifer Seeba had excellent seasons in the middle. Seeba led the Mules and finished fourth in the CC with 0.79 blocks per set and was first with 0.98 blocks per set in CC play. Price's 0.66 blocks per set were good enough for second on the team and seventh in the conference. Junior Caitlin Dombkowski had 16 blocks as a reserve.
Freshman Bryn Baker had an extremely impressive rookie campaign at setter. Baker averaged 8.12 assists per set, fourth in the CC, and finished with 723 assists, the seventh-highest total in a season in Muhlenberg history. Baker already ranks eighth in career assists at Muhlenberg.
Seniors Amy Cohen and Liz Dean both missed the season with injuries, but stayed active with the team and contributed from the sidelines.