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Volleyball Grounds Eastern for Second Time in 2021, 3-1

Jadyn Elliott
Jadyn Elliott

ST. DAVIDS, Pa. - The Haverford College volleyball team (17-3) prevailed 3-1 in a Friday night non-conference match at Eastern (19-2), handing the Eagles their second loss of the season overall and first home loss of the 2021 season. Earlier this season, Haverford also handed Eastern its first loss of the season on September 10, prevailing in five sets at Gooding Arena. 

Haverford's 17-3 start to the 2021 campaign matches the best 20-game stretch to begin a season since the notable 2009 season that saw the Fords capture the Centennial Conference crown and earn a berth in the Regional Semifinals. 

Haverford hit .159 in tonight's match, taking the four-set victory after Eastern outlasted the Fords in the opening set in extra points by a 27-25 final. Dina Kosyagin had 17 kills to pace Haverford, while Kendall Otridge also added 12 to her ledger. Juliet Young has 21 digs to lead three Fords in double digits while the blocking effort was exceptional in a tough road environment, with Abby Holland, Taylor Jones and Jadyn Elliott each recording seven total blocks while Sara Hunsberger recorded four to go with 37 assists and 11 digs in another well-rounded performance from the setter position. 

The first set saw the two teams deadlocked early, with neither side gaining much separation until an Eastern run put the hosts up 13-8. Haverford battled back to within one at 14-13, but Eastern had another spurt in them to take a 17-13 advantage. As became a theme later in the match, Haverford rallied behind four consecutive Otridge kills to climb within two before taking advantage of an attack error from the Eagles. Eastern then went back ahead by as many as four at 22-18, but Haverford had another answer, with Kosyagin finding the floor to pull Haverford back within just one. The Fords gained set point at 25-24 following another Kosyagin kill, but a 3-0 run for Eastern allowed the hosts to escape 27-25. 

In the second frame, Haverford saw its early 10-5 lead erased by a sustained Eastern run as the Eagles methodically clawed back into the contest, eventually using a 3-0 run to take a 19-16 lead. The Fords then put together one of their most impressive stretches of the contest, rattling off the final nine points in the stanza to take a 25-19 set victory. Taylor Jones was at the service line for that red-hot stretch, tallying a trio of service aces and adding a kill while Kosyagin and Elliott teamed up for a block twice and Hunsberger also went up with Elliott in the sprint. 

With the match tied at one, the third set was again a classic between two hungry teams as neither side has a lead larger than four in the early goings. Eastern went ahead 16-12, but an immediate answer from the Fords with Isabel Schwam at the service line trimmed that advantage to one ahead of a block from Holland and Taylor Jones to tie the score at 17-all. The block was again crucial down the stretch, with Elliott and Kosyagin going up together to give Haverford set point before Kosyagin gave Haverford a 2-1 match lead with a kill at 25-23.

In the fourth set, a fired up Haverford offense came out swinging, connecting to the tune of a 9-4 lead behind a service ace from Elena Fliograna. Undaunted, Eastern had an answer to cut the lead back to within four, but a 7-2 Haverford stretch put the visitors up 17-8 with designs on an relative straightforward fourth set win. Eastern again clawed back within five at 19-14, but a trio of attack errors from the hosts put the Eagles on the ropes, allowing Otridge and Kosyagin to do what they had excelled at all evening from the outside, finding the floor to put the Haverford offense back in rhythm. Otridge gave the Fords set point, setting the stage for the blocking prowess of Taylor Jones and Holland to close out the match with an emphatic block at 25-18. 

The Fords will now face a quick turnaround, jumping right back into non-conference action tomorrow with a pair of matches as part of a tri-match at Gwynedd Mercy. The Fords take on Marymount (Va.) at 4 p.m. before returning for a 6 p.m. first serve against the host Griffins. The Centennial slate resumes on Wednesday night with the annual Faculty Appreciation Match against Washington College, with first serve slated for 7 p.m.