Cardinals Split at Knights Invitational, Gonzalez All-Tournament

Cardinals Split at Knights Invitational, Gonzalez All-Tournament

ASTON, Pa. - On Saturday, the Catholic University women's volleyball team extended its win streak to four with a four-set win over Widener at the Knights Invitational hosted by Neumann, but the Cardinals were swept by Haverford in the second match, finishing the weekend with a 3-1 record.

Catholic (10-3) has won 10 of its first 13 matches this season, matching its start to the 2016 season when the team finished 26-11.

Sophomore Maria Gonzalez was named her second all-tournament team this season after she averaged 9.76 assists and 3.29 digs per set over four matches, including a career-high 19 digs in a five-set win over Salisbury on Friday. She was also named to the all-tournament at the Guetle Invitational Sept. 7-8.

Not to be overlooked was the play of sophomore Patricia Martinez who totaled double doubles in all four matches, averaging 4.12 kills and 3.88 digs per set while posting a career-high 26 kills against Neumann and 26 digs versus Salisbury on Friday.

Saturday wrapped up a stretch of five matches in just four days for Catholic, two of which went to five sets. Of the 20 total sets, 14 were decided by three points or less and five needed more than 25 points to decide a winner.

Catholic 3, Widener 1 (25-23, 21-25, 25-22, 25-17)

The Cardinals needed one hour and 48 minutes to pick up the four-set victory with freshman Mackenzie Collier leading the way with a team-high 14 kills and a .324 hitting percentage. She also had nine digs, just missing out on her third-straight double double. She also made a strong case for all-tournament honors, totaling three double doubles in four matches and averaging 3.12 kills and 3.35 digs per set while posting a career-high 16 kills and 22 digs against Neumann.

Martinez totaled 13 kills and 15 digs while junior Isabelle Cooper tied a career high with 13 kills. She also had six block assists. Sophomore Joya Libbus added six kills while Gonzalez had 46 assists and 11 digs.

The first set featured 11 ties and five lead changes, but with the set tied at 23-23, Catholic took the two-point victory after back-to-back kills by Cooper and Collier.

The Pride (8-4) took a 6-5 advantage in the second set and never trailed again as they evened the match at one set apiece before the Cardinals broke a 15-15 tie in the third with a 6-2 run en route to a 25-22 victory.

The fourth set was all Catholic as it jumped out to a 6-0 lead and Widener never got closer than three.

Freshman Caroline Kelly finished with 27 digs.

Haverford 3, Catholic 0 (29-27, 27-25, 25-23)

After a hard-fought four-set win over Widener where three of the four sets were decided by four points or less, all three sets against the Fords (3-8) were decided by just two points, including the first two which need extra time.

Martinez led the way with 14 kills and 10 digs while Collier totaled 12 kills and 13 digs.

There were 10 ties and four lead changes in the first set, six of which came after the match was tied at 20-20. The Cardinals had set point at 25-24, but couldn't get the next point and fought off three set points for Haverford before falling victim to a service ace on the fourth.

The Fords led for the majority of the second set before a 6-0 run by Catholic following a timeout put the team ahead, 23-21. However, the Cardinals could not take advantage of two set points at 24-22 and 25-24 as Haverford scored the final three points for a 27-25 victory.

The Fords led by as many as eight in the third set, but Catholic rallied with a 13-3 run to take a 23-21 advantage. That would be all the Cardinals could muster as Haverford scored the final four points to seal the match and hand Catholic its first three-set loss since Oct. 28, 2017.

Kelly had totaled 30 or more digs for the second time this season as she finished with 31, two shy of her career high. She was one of five Cardinals who had at least 10 digs, including Gonzalez who had 15 to go along with 34 assists. Sophomore Kate Murphy finished with a season-high 14 digs, two shy of her career high.

Catholic travels to Shenandoah on Tuesday for a 7 p.m., match against the Hornets at the Wilkins Athletics & Events Center.