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Volleyball Prevails in Pair of Five Set Epics at Ford Invitational

Dina Kosyagin
Dina Kosyagin

HAVERFORD, Pa. - The Haverford College volleyball team (5-1) was tested in a pair of five set epics on Friday night at Gooding Arena, prevailing over Eastern and SUNY Geneseo on the first night of the Ford Invitational. Senior captain Dina Kosyagin set a new career high in kills, notching 23 in the nightcap with Geneseo. On the evening in total, the Las Vegas native tallied 35 kills while Kendall Otridge (27 kills) and Abby Holland (23 kills) also helped anchor the attacking effort in front of the home crowd. 

Haverford 3, Eastern 2

Facing off against long-time Main Line foe Eastern, the Fords secured a third consecutive win in the series, jumping out to a 25-14 first set win behind an impressive .556 hitting percentage with no attacking errors on 18 swings.  The Fords similarly looked poised in the second set, turning an early deficit into a lead with Isabel Schwam helping to oversee a 5-0 run from the service line as Haverford grabbed the 16-14 lead. The two sides traded points until Taylor Jones took her turn late in the set, as the Fords scored the final five points of the frame, including a Jones service ace and a kill from Jadyn Elliott, to go up two sets to none with a 25-21 victory. 

The third went to Eastern, with Haverford struggling to match the defensive pressure of Eastern, as the visitors pulled away down the stretch. The fourth was a similar story, as the Eagles turned Haverford's late advantage on its side with a 7-3 run to force a fifth game. In that fifth game, the two sides again traded salvos with neither team gaining much separation in the early goings. The Fords gained some late momentum, using an emphatic block from Holland and Elliott to side out and serve for the match as a blocking error from the Eagles handed the Fords a thrilling victory in the decider. 

Haverford recorded 11 service aces, with Jones contributing five and Schwam adding three, while five different Fords recorded double-digit dig totals, paced by 27 from Juliet Young. Sara Hunsberger again notched a double-double with 27 assists and 12 digs, adding five kills in a well-rounded effort at setter. 

The block was crucial to Haverford' success yet again with Holland (six), Taylor Jones (five), and Elliott (four) providing a much-needed front line for the Fords.

Haverford 3, SUNY Geneseo 2 

The nightcap again saw Haverford tussle with another formidable opponent as it took extra points to dispatch the visiting Knights in the first set. It was Geneseo rallying back to tie things at 24-24 before a service error handed set point to the Fords, and Kosyagin delivered the final strike for the set one win. The second set saw Geneseo get into its rhythm offensively before Haverford answered back with Kosyagin being a consistent contributor in the stanza. A pair of back-to-back kills for the Knights tied the match as the visitors reversed the 26-24 scoreline from the first set. 

Haverford opened up a 15-7 run in the third set, with Caroline Lucas having an outstanding run at the service line, notching four consecutive service aces at one point. The lead eventually was whittled down to just 16-15 as Geneseo again proved its mettle by closing the gap. Kosyagin contributed back-to-back kills off assists from Elena Filograna to open up a 20-16 advantage, and Haverford kept that momentum down the stretch, with Kosyagin eventually contributing the final two kills of the set for a 25-18 Haverford victory.

The fourth saw a renewed energy from the visitors, as they charged out to the early lead. This time it was Haverford battling back, tying the score at 15-15 and prompting a timeout from Geneseo. The score was tied as late as 20-20, but Madison Popielski had a brilliant turn at the service line herself allowing the Knights to take the 25-21 victory. 

Haverford had the early momentum in the deciding fifth set, jetting out to the 12-6 lead behind three consecutive kills from Otridge. The Knights were searching for answers down 13-8, and got some in the form of some strong defensive play that allowed the visitors back into the game down just three at 13-10. Haverford found another gear from that point forward, with Taylor Jones adding the final two kills of the contest for the 15-11 victory.

Kosyagin led four Haverford hitters in double figures as Otridge (14), Holland (13), and Jones (10) also reached the mark. Hunsberger and Gabrielle Fontanilla shared setting duties, with Fontanilla tallying 29 assists and eight digs. Young (26 digs) paced four Fords in double digits while the young blocking corps of Taylor Jones and Elliott again contributed with three of Haverford's six total blocks. 

The meeting was the first between the two programs. The Fords will be back in action tomorrow, taking on Scranton (12 p.m.) and Cabrini (2 p.m.) at Gooding Arena to wrap up home tournament action.