ATLANTA, Ga. – Franklin & Marshall played two matches on the second day of competition at the Emory National Invitational, beating Wheaton (Ill.) 3-0 (25-19, 25-20, 25-15) before falling to No. 10 Claremont 3-1 (25-20, 20-25, 25-16, 25-7). The split took the Diplomats to 6-6 on the season.
F&M opened its match with Wheaton by using an 11-4 run to take an 18-11 lead. The Thunder pulled within four, but two straight kills from Ellie Ezekiel helped the Diplomats pull away and win the first, 25-19.
The second set was a tight one, with the score remaining tied at 16. This time it was Cassie Garison logging back-to-back kills as F&M made a 4-0 run to win the set, 25-20. The Diplomats hit .371 in the set with 18 kills.
F&M allowed for no drama in the third frame, jumping out to early leads of 6-0 and 12-3 on the back of strong serving from Parys Zambas and Mary Leneweaver. The Diplomats would only increase their lead as F&M won the set and the match, 25-15.
Ezekiel paced F&M with 14 kills on just two errors for a .400 hitting percentage. The Diplomats got eight kills from Garison and Barbara Kapustin as well as seven from Kelsey Michenko and Rachel Umberger in the victory.
Allison Edelstein commanded the offense well, tallying 34 assists.
Three Diplomats reached double digits in digs, with Zambas (11) leading the way, followed by Alyssa Sanchez (10) and Edelstein (10).
The 2:00 p.m. match against Claremont was F&M's fourth and final match of the tournament, and its third against opponents ranked in the national top 10. The early stages saw the Diplomats holding their own, with the score tied at 10. However, a quick 5-0 run from the Athenas was enough as Claremont took the set, 25-20.
The following set proved to be tight as well, with F&M facing a small 17-16 deficit late in the frame. This time it was the Diplomats using a 5-0 run on the strength of Ezekiel's serve to take a 21-17 lead and win, 25-20.
The third set began like the others, reaching a 9-9 tie. It was Claremont's turn to make a run, opening a 17-10 advantage and eventually winning, 25-16.
The Athenas were quick to close out the match, using stifling defense and .364 hitting percentage to take the fourth and final set, 25-7.
Kapustin lead the Diplomats with 13 kills, tying her career high.
Edelstein notched 28 assists, while Zambas again topped F&M with 16 digs.
The Diplomats open Centennial Conference (CC) play on Wednesday, hosting Muhlenberg in a 7:00 p.m. start at the Mayser Center.