COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – The Ursinus College volleyball team treated the Helfferich Hall faithful to quite an opening act.
Rachel Girard put up a triple-double in her home debut as the Bears staved off four set points to punctuate an exhilarating 3-0 sweep (25-21, 25-17, 27-25) of Rutgers-Camden on Tuesday night. Freshman Isabelle Deal capped off the team's first win of the season with a clinching kill after the Scarlet Raptors appeared poised to extend the match with a 24-20 lead in the third set.
Girard, a junior transfer from Bridgewater, was sensational in her first Helferrich appearance. She led the hosts in both kills (10) and assists (13), and her 10 digs were just enough to lock down a hard-earned triple-double. Kelly Piotrowicz tallied her second double-double with a match-high 23 digs and 12 assists, and rookie Katie Cressman racked up nine kills.
The first set was a rollercoaster, with 11 ties and nine lead changes dotted throughout a series of incremental pushes by either side. After the Scarlet Raptors (1-3) grabbed an early 7-3 lead, Ursinus quickly came back with four straight points, and neither team led by more than three until Cressman polished off the frame with a kill.
Trailing 20-19 after a bevy of one-point lead changes, Miranda Foster knotted the set with a kill. Cressman then took over, giving the Bears the lead with a solo block and consolidating it with a kill of her own to make it 22-20. After a Rutgers-Camden block, Cressman sandwiched a pair of kills around one by Piotrowicz to get the home side off and running with a one-set advantage.
Ursinus pulled away early in the second stanza. It was 5-3 before the Bears dialed up a 12-5 spurt, which featured three kills by Isabelle Deal and ended with two in a row by Girard. The Scarlet Raptors fended off three set points, but a service error handed the hosts a 25-17 decision.
The Bears looked ready to coast to the finish line with an 8-1 lead in the third, but Rutgers-Camden had other ideas and went on a 9-1 run to turn a 15-10 deficit into a 19-16 lead. The visitors pushed it to the brink at 24-20, but a critical timeout allowed Ursinus to re-set. Girard set up a Cressman kill on back-to-back points to get within two, then finished one off herself to make it 24-23.
Another powerful kill from Cressman leveled the spread at 24, and Paige DeAlba handed Ursinus a match point of its own with a kill. Rutgers-Camden fought that one off, but a service error gifted the Bears another and Deal took advantage, dropping a kill into an open area to seal the first victory of the year.
Deal had seven kills for the Bears, while Grace Sullivan tallied 17 digs.
The Bears hit the road for a weekend tournament at Rowan, beginning Friday with matches against Misericordia and the host Profs.