Volleyball Clinches Bye in CC Playoffs

Saturday, November 2, 2013 - page 3

Though the day didn’t end as planned for the Muhlenberg volleyball team, the way it started certainly made it worthwhile.

The Mules swept Swarthmore to lock up a bye in next week’s Centennial Conference playoffs, finishing in the top two in the league standings for the first time since 2001. The second-seeded Mules will meet third-seeded McDaniel in the semifinals at Franklin & Marshall next Saturday. Muhlenberg swept the Green Terror in the conference opener for both teams back on September 14, which kicked off the Mules’ journey to their first playoff berth in four years.

Laurainne Ojo-Ohikuare Muhlenberg fell in four sets to Moravian in its second match of the afternoon, but not before solidifying its playoff positioning in the final CC regular-season match of senior Laurainne Ojo-Ohikuare’s career.

Ojo-Ohikuare (right), who was honored along with student assistant Christopher Zumberge and former player Morgan Duggan in a pregame ceremony, finished with four kills in each match for the Mules (19-11, 8-2), who lost the first four points against the Garnet but quickly found their footing. Sophomore Katherine Boll led the way with 11 kills, while classmate Sarah Weyhmuller (nine kills, two blocks) and junior Lindsey Gambocurta (eight kills) also posted strong hitting performances.

After taking the first set, 25-20, Muhlenberg was on the verge of dropping the second as Swarthmore took a commanding 20-13 lead. The Mules, however, won the next nine points to turn the tables, punctuated with a kill by Gambocurta on an assist from sophomore co-captain Chelsea Kaser (15 digs). Weyhmuller’s powerful spike on set point completed the comeback, and Muhlenberg finished off the match with a comfortable 25-17 score in the third set.

After taking the first set against Moravian (12-21), the Mules looked poised to cap a big day with a Matte Award point, but the Greyhounds found another gear and took control. Moravian, which finished with 19 aces, won the next two sets by double-digit margins (25-13 and 25-11, respectively) before capturing the final three points of a 25-22 decision in the fourth. That gave Moravian a 4-2 edge in the annual all-sports competition, with a football clash and the NCAA Mideast Regional for cross country on tap in two weeks.

Boll and freshman Allison Glass had 10 kills apiece for the Mules, with Boll’s coming in just 19 attempts. Ojo-Ohikuare, who also had a pair of digs against the Garnet, needed only five attempts for her four kills. Sophomore Vanessa Pulice contributed a team-high 20 digs, freshman Ali Mayer added 10 digs and three aces, and junior Nikki Dickson turned in nine assists and six digs.
Click here for box scores.
Click for complete stats: Swarthmore match | Moravian match