READING, Pa. – The Ursinus College volleyball team dug out of a one-set deficit and got the best of a marathon third set to close its road schedule in style with a 3-1 victory at Albright on Thursday night.
Juniors Kelly Piotrowicz and Miranda Foster and freshman Oliva Debonte all had career nights for the Bears (9-16), who won their first four-setter of the season by a 20-25, 25-19, 29-27, 25-22 final. Ursinus defeated the Lions (9-11) under similar circumstances in last year's opener, dropping the first set before reeling off the next three.
Thanks to a balanced effort and the sustained excellence of their hard-hitting trio, the Bears pounded a season-high 54 kills. Piotrowicz, Foster, and DeBonte combined for 44 of them to the tune of a .354 hitting percentage.
Piotrowicz matched a career high with 17 kills, also tallying 20 assists and 16 digs on the way to her sixth triple-double of the year. Foster's career-best 15 kills were accompanied by a .500 hitting percentage (15K-2E-30TA), while DeBonte racked up a dozen for a new personal best. Sophomore Paige DeAlba joined Piotrowicz as a primary distributor, collecting a season-high 27 assists.
After succumbing to a 25-20 decision in the first set, the Bears roared back with a big run early in the second. Locked in a 5-5 tie, consecutive kills by Foster and Piotrowicz triggered an 8-1 surge that culminated in a DeBonte kill. Ursinus led by as many as nine points before DeAlba assisted another DeBonte kill for a 25-19 clincher.
The swing set was the third, a marathon with seemingly endless twists and turns in which both teams snatched victory from the jaws of defeat – and vice versa. Armed with a 24-19 advantage, Ursinus was well on its way to a relatively straightforward result before chaos took over.
The Lions staved off five consecutive match points before sophomore Paige DeAlba's kill gave the Bears another at 25-24. Albright had other ideas, winning the next two points to go up 26-25. Ursinus saved set point there and again at 27-26 on a kill by Foster. An attack error made it 28-27 in favor of the Bears, and Piotrowicz polished off the rollercoaster with a kill on a feed from sophomore Grace Sullivan.
Ursinus won the first four points of the fourth frame and maintained that upper hand until the scoreboard read 19-15. Albright then got hot, grabbing a 21-20 lead on the back of a 6-1 run. But DeBonte's kill, combined with an error and an ace from sophomore Hannah Merges got the Bears back on track, and they were able to close out the match a block shared by DeAlba and Merges.
The Bears wrap up the 2018 campaign with a three-match home stand beginning next Tuesday against Washington College.