Volleyball Wins Two to Extend Streak to Five

Saturday, October 5, 2013

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A “Garrison finish” is defined as “the finish of a race, especially a horse race, in which the winner comes from behind to win at the last moment.” *

Chelsea Kaser That is an apt description of the Muhlenberg volleyball team’s key 3-1 win against Washington College – in more ways than one.

The Shorewomen (12-6, 2-2) came in as one of the upstart teams in the league, with sweeps against 2012 Centennial Conference playoff qualifiers Gettysburg and Swarthmore already on their ledger. The Mules (11-5, 4-1), who swept Hood in their second match of the day, are now just a half-game behind first-place Franklin & Marshall in the CC standings.

Muhlenberg was in danger of letting a 2-0 lead slip away when Washington won the third set, 25-19, and raced out to an 18-11 lead in the fourth. The Shorewomen led the fourth set, 23-20, before the Mules scored the final five points to secure the match.

At 23-22, freshman defensive specialist Elizabeth Garrison dug an attack attempt by a Washington player. But instead of going to the setter, the ball went over the net and landed in the corner on the other side of the court for the tying point.

Muhlenberg wrapped up its set-closing 14-5 run with a Washington attack error and a kill by junior Holly Hynson.

“It was a mis-hit, but we’re keeping that a secret,” joked Garrison. “But it goes down as a kill! It doesn’t matter how you get the point.”

Scoring points in any manner was common in the closely contest match. The Mules staved off a set point in the first set, scoring the final two points of the 26-24 win on Washington attack errors. In the fourth set, Muhlenberg scored 14 of its 25 points on Washington attack, service or ball handling errors.

“In that third game we made a lot of mistakes,” said Garrison, referring to a 25-19 loss. “We kept our focus [in the fourth set] by trying to minimize our mistakes, keep the ball in play and let them make mistakes.”

Katherine Boll Freshman Allison Glass led the attack with 11 kills, with sophomore Joanne Josephson adding seven in only 12 attempts. Sophomore Chelsea Kaser (right) pulled up 20 digs, with Garrison and junior Nikki Dickson (17 assists) adding 13 digs apiece.

The defense was also solid on the front line, where the top blocking team in the CC recorded 10 blocks, including six by Josephson and four apiece by sophomores Katherine Boll (left) and Erin Murphy.

“It’s so helpful to have strong blocking,” said Garrison. “The blockers are an important part of our defense, and when they do their job it makes our job easier. We might have a great dig but a lot of credit goes to them.”

Muhlenberg used its superior depth to wear down Washington on an unseasonably hot and humid day; the Mules used 13 players as opposed to eight for the Shorewomen. Muhlenberg also spread out the playing time against Hood, with Hynson recording a team-high nine kills and senior Laurainne Ojo-Ohikuare adding eight without an error.

The Mules now have a five-match winning streak, their longest since 2001. That was also the last time Muhlenberg was 4-1 at the midpoint of the CC season, and in that year the team reached the CC championship match for the only time.

“Our goal is to make it to the conference playoffs, and each match is really important,” said Garrison. “We all took this match with a sense of urgency, and that helped us rally back.

“We’re on a winning streak, and we want to continue to do that.”
Click here for box scores.
Click for complete stats: Washington match | Hood match

* according to Dictionary.com, the term comes from 19th-century jockey Edward (Snapper) Garrison, who often won in this fashion.