COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – The Ursinus College volleyball team tuned up for a Senior Day showdown with Johns Hopkins in impressive fashion, putting together one of its most efficient efforts of the season in a 3-0 non-conference sweep (25-14, 25-19, 25-20) of Penn State-Abington on Friday night.
Senior Allison Raff finished with team highs of 14 kills and 11 digs – inching closer to 1,000 for her career – and two-thirds of sophomore Miranda Foster's 15 attacks ended in kills as the Bears (6-15) snapped a four-match skid and improved to 4-6 at home. Senior Taylor McCartney netted ten digs and seven kills, and sophomore Kelly Piotrowicz racked up 31 assists.
Ursinus hit .355 in the first set and .371 in the third to finish at a .329 clip for the match (38K-10E-85TA), its second-best output of the year. Piotrowicz and first-year Grace Sullivan split eight aces, while McCartney and sophomore Lauren Novotny had two apiece for the Bears, who recorded 13 for the match.
A kill by McCartney on the first point of the match, followed by back-to-back aces from Piotrowicz, had Ursinus off and running with a 3-0 lead. Raff (5), McCartney (4), and Foster (3) combined for 12 kills to help the home side cruise to a 25-14 decision in the opening frame.
The Bears fell behind 3-1 in the second set, but a five-point service run by Sullivan – aided by two Raff kills – put the hosts ahead to stay at 11-6. The Nittany Lions (9-16) got as close as 12-10 before a service error and a Novotny ace short-circuited their momentum, and Ursinus led 21-18 when a kill from McCartney and two straight attack errors by Abington gave the Bears a match point that they ultimately converted on Foster's kill.
Ursinus found itself in an 8-4 hole in the third set, but another big service run from Sullivan got the Bears out of it. Sullivan produced three aces to match Raff's three kills in a run of nine unanswered points that made it 13-8. Abington was as tight as four late, but Ursinus never blinked and closed the match on a kill by McCartney.
In addition to her .600 hitting percentage, Foster facilitated the Bears' defensive efforts with three assisted blocks, teaming one time apiece with McCartney, rookie Paige DeAlba, and Piotrowicz.
Raff crossed the 900-kill mark for her career and now needs 27 digs to reach 1,000. She and McCartney will be honored in a pregame ceremony before the Bears take on first-place Johns Hopkins on Saturday at 1 p.m.