LANCASTER, Pa. – Franklin & Marshall volleyball rounded out the 2016 regular season on Saturday by dropping Dickinson 3-0 in the final regular season Centennial Conference (CC) match of the year before taking down Moravian 3-1 in a nonconference contest. The Diplomats moved to 19-8, 7-3 CC with the wins, and are qualified for next week's CC Tournament.
Dickinson got a hot start to the first set, taking a slim 7-4 lead. However, four kills from Ellie Ezekiel and three from Cassie Garison fueled a decisive 12-1 run that gave F&M a 16-8 lead and eventually a 25-15 win in the opener.
Another mid-set run powered the Diplomats in set two, this time a 6-0 burst on the serve of Parys Zambas for a 13-6 advantage. The Red Devils fought back to as close as three at 19-16, but late kills from Grace Polisano and Allison Edelstein let F&M take a 2-0 lead after another 25-15 victory.
The same formula prevailed in the third frame as well, with Edelstein serving up two aces and getting three kills from Sarah Landry in an 8-0 stretch, giving the hosts a 22-12 lead. Dickinson never got closer than seven, and F&M rolled to the sweep with a 25-18 win.
Ezekiel led the offense with 11 kills, while Landry and Garison both added seven. Sixteen digs from Mary Leneweaver paced the defense.
However, the Diplomats were forced to respond after committing 14 errors and dropping the first 25-23. They did just that, with four late kills from Polisano fueling a 10-3 run that gave F&M a 25-21 win, tying the match at 1-1.
In the third, Zambas and Polisano served the Diplomats to an 11-4 run and a 19-10 lead. A 25-16 win in the third gave F&M a 2-1 lead, and eight Ezekiel kills in the fourth set clinched the match 3-1. Five kills from Ezekiel over a 13-2 stretch proved to be too much for the Red Devils, and the Diplomats clinched the match with the 25-14 decision.
Ezekiel celebrated Senior Day with a season-high 26 kills. Polisano added 12, while Garison and Landry again added seven apiece. Edelstein reached the half-century mark with 50 assists, the third time this season she has done recorded 50 or more.
Leneweaver did a bit of celebrating of her own, recording a career-high 32 digs on the day. Shae Murphy (14), Edelstein (10), and Zambas (10) also reached double figures.
Postseason play begins on Wednesday, when F&M travels to Muhlenberg for the play-in game of the CC Tournament. The Diplomats enter the tournament as the No. 5 seed, and will play No. 1 Johns Hopkins on Saturday if they defeat the No. 4 Mules on Wednesday. Stay tuned as more information regarding the tournament is made available by the conference.