HAVERFORD, Pa. - The Haverford College Volleyball team began the 2021 campaign in exhilarating fashion on Friday evening at the Haverford Invitational, posting a pair of 3-1 wins over Coast Guard and Stockton in front of a fired up crowd of students and supporters at Gooding Arena. The Haverford fans were eager to cheer on the Fords for the first time since the 2019 Centennial Conference tournament.
Haverford 3, Coast Guard 1
The Fords outlasted the Bears in the first frame, as the two teams were tied late in the set before kills from Kendall Otridge and Taylor Jones helped Haverford pull away down the stretch. The second set went back to the visitors, but first year Téa Kuzbari proved to be a force with an impressive debut at the service line, adding nine service aces against the Bears and helping to anchor a stretch in the third set as Haverford opened up a 21-10 lead. Those nine services aces represented the most in a four-set match in program history and tied for the third most all-time in Haverford history.
The fourth set saw Haverford in command with seniors Sara Hunsberger and Riley Outen teaming up down the stretch and Dina Kosyagin keying a run that saw a 7-6 Haverford lead balloon to a 25-16 final score.
Outen, Otridge, and Jones each had 10 kills in the contest. Jones was also a defensive threat with three blocks. Hunsberger added 33 assists while libero Juliet Young made her collegiate debut with 12 digs. The Fords hit .277 while limiting the Bears to just a .152 clip.
Haverford 3, Stockton 1
Coming out strong against a team receiving votes in the Division III National Coaches Poll to begin the season, Haverford was paced by Otridge's 16 kills while Kosyagin added 15 of her own and Jones registered 10 for the second consecutive contest. Hunsberger added a double-double, with 37 assists to go with 16 digs. Haverford's strong blocking effort was on full display with 12 including four from Jones and two from classmate Jadyn Elliott.
The Fords grabbed the first two sets with Kosyagin again proving to be the catalyst for offensive momentum, trading opportunities with Otridge in the front row. Haverford was there to take advantage of some Ospreys mistakes, closing the second set on a 3-0 run.
Stockton bounced back to take the third set behind their best hitting frame of the night (.312), but the Fords were undaunted, turning a 10-10 tie early in the fourth into a big lead behind Jones up front and Elena Filograna at the service line. An emphatic kill off an overpass from Elliott fired up the crowd as the Fords went up 22-14 before three consecutive errors from the visitors brought Haverford its second consecutive win.
In addition to the offensive firepower on display, Hunsberger (16), Young (15), and Isabel Schwam (12) all had double-digit dig totals in the second contest.
The Fords will be right back in action tomorrow, closing out the Haverford Invitational with a noon matchup against Stevenson and a 2 p.m. contest with Misericordia.