COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – The Ursinus College volleyball team went to the limit and then some to pick up its first Centennial Conference victory of the season, rallying from two sets to one down and a sizeable fourth-set deficit to outlast Dickinson for a marathon victory on Wednesday night inside a rowdy Helfferich Hall.
The Bears (7-9, 1-4) dug out of a 16-12 hole in the fourth set with a stirring run of eight consecutive points on the serve of senior captain Sydney Gonzalez, forcing a decisive fifth set where the home side made all the big plays when it mattered to edge past the Red Devils for the first time since 2011.
Freshman Olivia DeBonte, sophomore Paige DeAlba, and sophomore Emily Harris all had massive kills in the fifth set, each one preventing Dickinson (4-10, 0-4) from tying the score. DeBonte's made it 10-8 in favor of the Bears, and DeAlba followed suit with one of her own to open up a three-point edge.
Harris' booming blast made it 13-10 and, after Dickinson won its final point, a serve long and an attack error clinched the comeback for Ursinus.
DeAlba secured her first triple-double of the season with 13 assists, 10 kills, and 10 digs in a strong all-around effort for Ursinus. Piotrowicz matched her with another of her own, this time covering 19 assists, 18 digs, and 10 kills.
It was a total team effort for Ursinus, which got eight kills from DeBonte, seven kills apiece out of junior Miranda Foster and Harris, 32 digs from sophomore Grace Sullivan, and 13 digs from Gonzalez.
The Bears got the best of a seesaw opening set, falling behind 19-17 before DeAlba sandwiched a pair of kills around one by Merges to make it 20-19. The Red Devils evened the spread at 21-21 and 22-22, but a Piotrowicz kill put Ursinus on top for good.
Dickinson slowly gathered momentum and came out on top in back-to-back 25-20 decisions, and the visitors appeared to be inches from the finish line with a 12-6 advantage in the fourth. But it was not to be as the Bears rode a raucous home crowd all the way to a breakthrough result.
Ursinus heads to Widener for a tri-match on Saturday.