ANNVILLE, Pa. – With a pair of 3-0 sweeps on Saturday afternoon at the Lebanon Valley Tournament, the Franklin & Marshall volleyball team improved to 8-0 on the season, its best start since beginning 2004 at 5-0.
The Diplomats have now run a streak of 18-straight sets without a loss after taking down Penn. State-Altoona (3-6) by scores of 25-13, 25-12, 25-23, followed by a 25-19, 25-22, 25-23 win over LVC (7-2).
F&M cruised against the Nittany Lions, taking a 2-0 lead after picking up double-digit victories in the first and second set. Penn. State-Altoona put up a fight in the third, but the Diplomats proved too much to handle, taking the set 25-23 for the sweep.
Ellie Ezekial set the pace for the offense, registering 10 kills and 14 digs on the contest. Caroline Hubbard reached double-digit assists with 13, followed by 12 from Allison Edelstein. Alyssa Sanchez and Meghan Hubert tallied three aces apiece, as F&M finished the match with eight.
Penn. State-Altoona managed to hit only .095 on the game thanks in large part to 14 blocks from the Diplomats.
Against the Dutchmen, F&M fell behind early at 4-1 before coming back to tie the set 5-5. The Diplomats took four of the next five to pull in front 9-6, until a 7-0 run from Lebanon Valley put the Dutchmen back on top at 13-9.
F&M answered back with a 6-0 run of its own, capped off by an ace from Hubbard, to regain the lead at 15-13. The Diplomats maintained the advantage, winning the final four points of the set to take game one, 25-19.
In the second, the Dutchmen held an early 10-9 lead before a Julie Harvey kill wrapped up a four-point F&M rally to put the Diplomats up by three. Lebanon Valley refused to go away, once again seizing the lead at 16-15 until a three-point rally from F&M made the score 18-16 in favor of the Diplomats.
Clinging to a two-point advantage at 24-22, Ezekial landed one of her 10 kills on the match to finish off the set for F&M.
The Diplomats pulled in front at 13-6 in the third but the Dutchmen responded with a 14-4 run to put F&M in a three-point hole at 20-17. The Diplomats fought back to tie the set at 23-23 and managed to finish off Lebanon Valley with a Hubbard kill followed by an ace from Sanchez.
Harvey led the offense with 11 kills while Hubbard was solid with 39 assists. Sanchez registered 16 digs on the contest, followed by 14 from Mary Leneweaver. F&M hit .256 for the match, while Lebanon Valley combined for a .159 clip.
For their efforts over the weekend, Hubbard and Emily Gerard were named to the LVC All-Tournament Team.
The Diplomats return to action next Sunday to host the F&M Scramble Tournament. F&M takes on a trio of opponents, kicked off with a match against Mount Saint Vincent at 10:00 A.M., followed by games with Cabrini and Susquehanna.