SCRANTON, Pa. - The Catholic University volleyball team opened Landmark Conference play on Saturday, dropping both matches of a tri-match against Scranton and No. 13 Juniata at Scranton's John Long Center.
The Cardinals (13-10, 0-2 LC) won the first set against Scranton before the Royals rallied to win the next three en route to a 19-25, 25-22, 25-18, 25-23 victory before Juniata posted its eighth-straight conference victory with a 25-22, 25-21, 25-23 decision.
Scranton 3, Catholic 1
Freshman Josephine Morrill posted her eighth double double of the season with 15 kills and 15 digs against Scranton (11-7, 1-0 LC) while junior Patricia Martinez totaled her ninth double double, and fifth in the last six matches, with 14 kills and 17 digs.
Sophomore Caroline Kelly also had a team-high 17 digs.
With the first set tied at 2-2, the Cardinals used an 11-3 run to take their largest lead, 13-5. Scranton pulled within three, 16-13 and 22-19, but Catholic scored the final three points on a Royal attack error and kills by Morrill and Martinez.
The second set featured 10 ties and seven lead changes. With the set tied at 16-16, Scranton scored the next four consecutive points on errors by the Cardinals to take their largest lead en route to tying the match at 1-1.
The Royals jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the third set and never trailed on their way to winning by seven, 25-18. The Cards pulled within one on four separate occasions, but a quick 3-0 sput by Scranton put the Royals ahead by four, 18-14, and they sealed the set on back-to-back Catholic errors.
The Cardinals led 8-2 to start the fourth set, but Scranton rallied to tie it at 9-9. The set featured 10 more ties, the last of which came at 23-23, before back-to-back kills by Jillian Graham and Tess Ungerleider gave the Royals the win and the match.
Senior Isabelle Cooper had 10 kills and three block assists as Catholic had 15 total blocks. Junior Joya Libbus had four block assists while junior Maria Gonzalez finished with 39 assists and 14 digs.
Juniata 3, Catholic 0
Morrill had 11 kills and six digs against the Eagles (9-5, 1-0 LC) while Martinez added six kills and 17 digs. Kelly had a match-high 18 digs as the team finished with 62.
Juniata scored the first four points of the first set before the Cardinals tied the match at 20-20 and took their first lead on a kill by sophomore Kaitlyn McDonough. A kill by Morrill tied the set for the fifth time at 22-22 before the Eagles scored the final three points with a block and two kills.
Catholic scored the first three points to start the second set before Juniata rallied to tie it at 4-4. The Eagles took its largest lead at 10-5, but Catholic tied the set at 13-13 on a kill by Cooper and then again at 16-16 on a kill by McDonogh. Following a Juniata timeout with the Eagles leading 22-21, they scored the final three points, including two on errors by the Cards to take a two-set lead.
Led by two kills from Cooper, Catholic took a 4-1 lead to start the third set before Juniata rallied to tie it at 5-5. The set featured 12 ties with the last coming at 22-22 before the Eagles clinched the set and the match on kills by Victoria Taylor and Morgan Edwards.
Cooper finished with nine kills and five digs while McDonough had five kills. Gonzalez added 28 assists and eight digs.
The Cardinals return home to face the College of Wooster on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Catholic is 4-1 on Franny Murray Court this season.