STEUBENVILLE, OH -- The La Roche women's volleyball team improved to 10-15 and 5-1 in conference play after sweeping Franciscan University 3-0 (28-26, 25-22, 25-15) in the AMCC Game of the Week. The Redhawks climb into first place in the AMCC Conference standings and can clinch a tournament berth with a victory on Saturday.
La Roche showed incredible resilience to overcome late deficits in the first two sets. The Redhawks built a 7-6 lead early in the first game thanks to serving aces by Maddie Gestrich and Laura Nath and kills by Haley Ebersole and Christine Aland. Franciscan ran off five straight points but it was Sarah Storino's turn to serve and she cut the deficit back to just one. The Barons responded and led 20-15, however La Roche turned to Ebersole and Toni Torchia and they scored 7 of the next 9 points. Both teams traded points before back-to-back kills by Nath and Aland ended the set.
A combination of strong net play and Franciscan errors on the backline allowed the Redhawks to grab an early 9-5 lead in game 2. Reilee Bradford contributed two straight kills to drive the lead to four but the Barons swung the momentum and went up 20-16. Coach Bajuszik called a timeout and the Redhawks responded. La Roche scored six of their final nine points on kills and they committed just one error. Ebersole slammed home a Storino set to complete the comeback and the set two win.
Unlike the first two sets, the Redhawks never trailed in the third. Franciscan cut a six point deficit down to just 16-15, but never got any closer as the Redhawks closed the match on a 9-0 run. Storino provided two serving aces and was at the serving line for the final nine points.
Ebersole led the Redhawks with 11 kills and AMCC Player of the Week, Laura Nath, had 10. AMCC digs leader, Hannah Scott, finished with 18 digs and Ebersole and Christine Aland provided defense at the net with two blocks each. Gestrich had 18 assists while Storino had 16 assists and 3 serving aces.
The Redhawks will look to clinch an AMCC Tournament berth on Saturday against Pitt-Bradford. Gametime is 12:30pm.
Photo credit to Ryan George.