COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – The Ursinus College volleyball team fought valiantly but was unable to contain a highly efficient Muhlenberg attack as the visitors left Helfferich Hall with a 3-0 Centennial Conference sweep (25-16, 25-15, 25-16) on Wednesday night.
A CC semifinalist a year ago, the Mules (14-6, 4-2) sprayed 30 kills against just three errors in the first two sets, hitting .432 in the first and .478 in the second. Ursinus (7-15, 1-7) had issues with the tall front line of Muhlenberg and made 21 errors to just 15 kills for the match.
The match followed a consistent pattern, with all three sets staying tight in the middle portions before the Mules pulled away with a big run. A kill by freshman Olivia DeBonte had the Bears within 14-13 in the opener, but Muhlenberg unleashed six kills in a 7-1 run that put the set out of reach.
Two service aces from junior Kelly Piotrowicz, who reached 1,000 career assists on Saturday, got Ursinus off and running with a 3-0 lead in the second. It was 7-6 Bears when Muhlenberg rolled up four consecutive kills in a 7-0 run that made it 13-7, but Ursinus roared back to tie it at 15 when a pair of setting errors sandwiched around a Piotrowicz ace forced a timeout from the visitors.
The stoppage did the trick for Muhlenberg, which regained the lead on an attack error by the Bears and finished the set with nine straight points on the serve of Kendall Applegate.
Applegate served the Mules out to a 6-0 lead in the third, and at 10-4 the outlook was dim for Ursinus. But the Bears climbed off the mat thanks to extended serving runs from sophomores Hannah Merges and Paige DeAlba, eventually claiming 14-12 edge after two DeAlba aces and an attack error.
Muhlenberg used another timeout to its advantage, halting the Bears' run with an 11-1 spurt of their own and coasting to the finish line.
Junior Miranda Foster finished with a team-high seven kills (to just one error) for Ursinus. Piotrowicz had nine digs and eight assists in addition to four aces, while DeAlba served three aces to go with six assists and six digs.
The Bears host a tri-match against Immaculata and Moravian on Saturday.