LANCASTER, Pa. – Franklin & Marshall put together a pair of quality performances on Saturday at day two of the F&M Scramble, but dropped two close matches with Ithaca and No. 14 Carnegie Mellon. The pair of losses dropped the Diplomats to 8-4 on the year.
A tight opening set against Ithaca eventually saw the Diplomats open a 16-10 lead. The Bombers battled back to tie the match at 20, but F&M remained steady in the closing points and held on for the 25-23 win in the opener.
Set two saw Ithaca bounce back, using a 7-2 run to open a lead of 16-10. The Diplomats battled back, but never got closer than two as the Bombers took the frame 25-19.
Ithaca continued to control the action in the third, once again using a mid-set run of 9-3 to take a commanding 20-13 lead. F&M was unable to close the gap, and went behind 2-1 with the 25-15 loss.
Early deficits of 3-0 and 8-4 did not deter the Diplomats in the fourth, battling all the way back to take a 17-14 edge. Three quick points from the Bombers continued the back-and-forth action, tying the set at 17, but a brief run on Ellie Ezekiel's serve helped build a 7-2 run that gave F&M a 24-19 advantage and eventually the 25-22 win. Four kills from Cassie Garison, including three down the stretch, fueled the Diplomat comeback.
F&M took an early 7-2 lead in the crucial fifth set, but Ithaca responded by tying the match at 8-8. The Bombers did not stop there, scoring seven of the next 10 points to escape with the match and set 15-11.
Yoo logged one solo block and two block assists for the defense, and Mary Leneweaver led the second line of defense with 20 digs.
The Diplomats bounced back from the tough loss by taking a quick 4-0 lead over No. 14 Carnegie Mellon in the second match of the day. The Tartans eventually regained a 15-13 lead, but Yoo served a 5-0 run with the help of three Landry kills to return the edge to F&M, 18-15. Carnegie Mellon pulled as close as one, but never totally closed the gap as the Diplomats claimed the first 25-23. Six kills from Landry paced F&M in the set.
The second frame stayed tied all the way to 18-18, when Yoo and Polisano teamed up for a block that evened the score and allowed Edelstein to retain serve. The Tartans never saw the ball again, as Edelstein collected two aces and served out the set, 25-18.
Set three featured more close action, as an Ezekiel kill evened the score at 15 midway through the frame. However, two quick points from Carnegie Mellon gave the Tartans a slim lead that they would not relinquish, holding on for a 25-22 victory to stay alive.
The margin of victory was slim for Carnegie Mellon again in the fourth, as a quick 4-0 run from 13-12 gave the visitors a 17-12 advantage and just enough room to squeak out a 25-21 victory and force a fifth set.
The Tartans took an early 4-1 lead in the final fifth set, but the resilient Diplomats got three kills from Ezekiel to take a 10-9 lead. Still, a late push from Carnegie Mellon gave the set and match to the Tartans, 15-12.
Polisano led five Diplomats in double-digit kills, recording 15. Ezekiel and Landry contributed 13, while Yoo added 11 and Garison notched 10. Edelstein dished out a career-high 56 assists to supply the F&M hitters.
Garison got it done defensively as well, tallying two solo blocks and three block assists, as Ezekiel added one solo and four assists. Leneweaver's 29 digs were also a team high.
The Diplomats return to the court on Wednesday, visiting Swarthmore at 7:30 p.m. for the first Centennial Conference match of the season.