SCRANTON, Pa. -- Sophomore Kristin Kirwan (Park Ridge, N.J./Immaculate Heart Academy) picked up where she left off a season ago on the attack for the University of Scranton volleyball team on Thursday night, registering a match-high 15 kills in the Royals' 3-0 victory over Lycoming (25-11, 25-23, 25-15) in the team's 2016 season opener inside the John Long Center.
In the win, Scranton got off to a fast start in the first set, scoring the first six points before coasting to a 14-point win to take a 1-0 lead on Lycoming. But, in the second set, the Warriors came back strong, opening up a seven-point lead (17-10) on the Royals prompting a Scranton timeout.
Scranton was able to score four straight points off the timeout to chop the Lycoming lead down to 17-14, but the Warriors scored the next three points to go back up six at 20-14, prompting another Scranton timeout.
Here, the Royals finally found their footing in the set and started to rally back. After scoring five points in a row to make it a 20-19 match, Lycoming was forced to use a timeout. But, once again, the Warriors punched back with three points in a row to go up 23-19.
Just as it appeared Lycoming was finally about to put the Royals away and tie the match, Scranton went on a furious rally to end the set, scoring the final six points to take a come-from-behind 25-23 victory to go up 2-0. The set was clinched on a kill by junior Catherine Manning (Eastchester, N.Y./Eastchester), who had two kills in the end of set rally.
In the third and what turned out to be final set, the Royals quickly put away the Warriors, leaping out to an insurmountable 14-6 lead early. From there, Scranton rolled, winning the third set by 10 points to put Lycoming away for the evening.
Overall, Kirwan led the attack with her 15 kill evening, hitting .312 overall in the process. She also posted three block-assists in the win, along with three digs, as well.
Elsewhere, Manning ended the night with eight kills (hitting .583), while many of Scranton's kills were set up by senior Brittany Cafiero (Merrick, N.Y./Kellenberg Memorial), who finished with 29 assists.
On defense, junior Morgan Rentzheimer (Laurys Station, Pa./Parkland) had 10 digs to lead the way, while at the net, freshman Victoria Capogna (Farmingdale, N.Y./St. Anthony's) had four block-assists in her first collegiate match.
The Royals return to action on Friday, as the program hosts the annual Scranton Invitational all weekend at the John Long Center. Tomorrow, Scranton first takes on Mount Saint Mary beginning at 2:30 p.m., then caps off the night with a match against Penn State Behrend starting at 8:30 p.m.