Cardinals Fall Short in Upset Bid Against Stevenson

Cardinals Fall Short in Upset Bid Against Stevenson

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Catholic University volleyball sophomore Caroline Kelly totaled her 1,000th career dig and freshman Josephine Morrill totaled 11 kills and eight digs, but after dropping the first set, Stevenson rallied to sweep the final three en route to a 20-25, 25-23, 25-17, 25-16 victory Thursday at Franny Murray Court.

The Cardinals (14-11) fell for the first tme in their last seven home matches while the Mustangs, who are receiving votes in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division III Coaches Top 25 Poll, avoided their first loss of the season.

With her fifth dig of the match in the third set, Kelly became the 16th player in program history to reach 1,000. The libero finished with 10 digs and now has 1,005 in just 55 career matches.

Junior Patricia Martinez totaled eight kills and 11 digs while senior Isabelle Cooper had five kills and six total blocks.

Catholic led 8-7 in the first set before scoring 11 of the next 14 points to take its a nine-point advantage, 19-10. Martinez totaled three kills during the run while the Cards capitalized on six Stevenson errors. Catholic maintained its nine-point lead at 22-13 on the Mustangs' 11th attack error of the set before sealing the set on a kill by Martinez.

Stevenson (20-0) lost for just the ninth time in 69 sets this season. It was also just the fourth time in 20 matches that the Mustangs lost the first set.

The second set featured 14 ties and seven lead changes. With the set tied at 22-22, Stevenson managed to escape a two-set deficit behind an error by the Cardinals and kills from Mackenzie Blevins and Haley Hoover. The Mustangs posted 15 kills on 33 attacks while adding 18 digs to help limit Catholic to a .182 hitting percentage.

The Cards jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the third set before Stevenson rallied to take a four-point advantage, 13-9. The Mustangs never trailed again while pushing their lead to as many as eight, 23-15, following a 5-0 run. Stevenson finished the set with 21 digs and seven total blocks.

The Mustangs scored 15 of the first 19 points in the fourth set and never let their lead slip below seven. Catholic was limited to just three kills while committing seven errors on 30 swings.

With the win, Stevenson (20-0) remained as one of only three teams out of 429 in Division III who are undefeated this season, joining No. 12 Johns Hopkins (18-0) and No. 14 Tufts (14-0). The Mustangs host Johns Hopkins next Thursday, Oct. 17.

Sophomore Kaitlyn McDonough finished with five kills, three digs and two block assists while junior Maria Gonzalez had 22 assists, three service aces and a team-high 15 digs.

Catholic has five days before returning to action next Wednesday, Oct. 16 for a Landmark Conference road match at Elizabethtown.