COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – The Ursinus College volleyball team kicked off the 2017 season with a bang, overcoming a first-set defeat to roll off the next three and give new head coach Cecily Scavicchio a 3-1 victory in her debut.
Freshman Paige DeAlba also made her first appearance in a Bears uniform a memorable one, racking up a triple-double with 21 assists, 14 digs, and 10 kills to lead a balanced effort that culminated in a second consecutive season-opening win, this one by a final of 22-25, 25-23, 25-11, 25-20.
Sophomore Kelly Piotrowicz posted a team-high 27 assists to go with 14 digs and senior co-captain Allison Raff went for 14 kills and 17 digs to make it three from the home side with a double-double. Fellow co-captain Taylor McCartney (12) and sophomore Miranda Foster (11) combined for 23 kills to just four errors as Ursinus hit .281 for the match.
After dropping a tight first set, the Bears wrested momentum from the visiting Lions with an early four-point run on the serve of DeAlba, which was bookended by a pair of Foster kills. Albright closed to within 14-13, but another kill by Foster and an ensuing ball-handling error granted the Bears a three-point lead. Ursinus let three set points fall by the wayside, but recovered to claim a 25-23 barn-burner and knot the match with the help of an Albright hitting error.
The hosts trailed 5-4 early in the third, but rang up a 9-1 spurt that featured three kills from Raff to pull away for good. A kill by Foster and an ace off the serve of freshman Grace Sullivan capped the 25-11 rout.
Albright refused to go quietly, grabbing a 14-10 advantage in the fourth set in an effort to level the proceedings, but the Bears seized six of the next seven points to snatch a 16-15 lead. The advantage changed hands twice before Raff put Ursinus on her back, blasting three straight kills to make it 20-18. An attack error got the Lions within a point before the Bears ran off the next five, two of them on Raff kills, and put an exclamation point on Scavicchio's debut with an ace by Piotrowicz.
The Bears got hot on the attack as the match wore on, hitting .379 and .364 in the final two sets.
Foster and PIotrowicz were active along the net, combining for a number of blocks and finishing with four apiece. Junior libero Sydney Gonzalez hustled her way to 12 digs, with Sullivan collecting ten of her own, and both produced a pair of aces. First-year Emily Harris also saw action in her first collegiate match.
Claudia Guise picked up a game-high 31 assists and was one of five players with double-digit digs for Albright.
The Bears are back in the friendly confines of Helfferich Hall for a non-conference tilt with Rutgers-Camden. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m.