SCRANTON, Pa. -- The University of Scranton volleyball team kicked off the 2016 Scranton Invitational on Friday afternoon and evening in style, posting straight set sweeps of both of their opponents on the day - Mount Saint Mary and Penn State Behrend.
With the victories, Scranton starts the year off 3-0 and has yet to lose a set in the first two days of their season.
Scranton 3, Mount Saint Mary 0 -- Box Score
In their first match of the day, the Royals made quick work of Mount Saint Mary, sweeping the visiting Knights in three sets (25-14, 25-21, 25-7).
To start the match, the Royals opened up a 16-10 lead in the first set that proved to be too much for the visiting Knights to come back from, as Scranton coasted to an 11-point win in the opening frame.
Similar to their first match of the season Thursday night against Lycoming, the opposition came back strong in the second set, as Mount Saint Mary rallied from an early 10-5 deficit to take a 17-14 lead on the Royals in the middle of the game.
But, just as it was against Lycoming, Scranton punched back and gained the momentum late in the set, ending the match on a 7-3 run after Mount Saint Mary tied at at 18-all. The victory in the second frame was capped off by two service aces by junior Morgan Rentzheimer (Laurys Station, Pa./Parkland), sealing a 2-0 lead for Scranton.
In the third and what turned out to be final set, the Royals opened a huge 15-5 lead and never looked back, scoring 11 of the final 13 points of the game to sweep away the Knights in three.
Overall, Rentzheimer led the way for Scranton in the win, registering nine kills, a career-high eight aces and five digs. Elsewhere, senior Bailey Woods (Wallingford, Pa./Strath Haven) posted a game-high in assists with 35, while freshman Kate Calabro (Seaford, N.Y./Kellenberg Memorial) came on in the third set and notched seven kills alone in the game.
Scranton 3, PSU Behrend 0 -- Box Score
In their second match of the day, the Royals and Penn State Behrend played a very competitive match that saw Scranton pull away late in each of the three sets played to take a straight set win (25-23, 25-19, 25-18).
In the opening set, Scranton was able to hold an edge for the early portion of play, and held on to a comfortable 16-10 lead. There, PSU-Behrend clawed their way back into the match, racing on a 10-4 run to knot things up late at 20-20.
After both teams traded two points each to make it a 22-all tie, Scranton was able to score three of the last four points of play to take the two point win. Sophomore Kristin Kirwan (Park Ridge, N.J./Immaculate Heart Academy) clinched the set for the Royals, slamming home a kill with Scranton clinging to a 24-23 lead.
In the second set, Scranton held the lead for the majority of the game, pulling away from PSU-Behrend late after the Lions cut the Royals' lead down to 20-17 in the set (Scranton scored five of the final seven points of the frame).
It was a similar story in the third set, as the Royals clinched the three set win after breaking open an 18-16 game late, scoring seven of the final nine points of play to complete the sweep.
Overall, Calabro posted a banner effort on the Scranton attack in the win, recording a match-high 13 kills in the victory. Kirwan finished with eight kills, while senior Brittany Cafiero (Merrick, N.Y./Kellenberg Memorial) set up the Royals attack with 35 assists. Her sister Danielle Cafiero (Merrick, N.Y./Kellenberg Memorial) led the Royals defense in the win, notching 14 digs.
The University of Scranton volleyball team returns to action on Saturday, finishing off play in the Scranton Invitational inside the John Long Center. The Royals first take on Wheaton beginning at 9:30 a.m. to start the day, then finish off play with a match against FDU-Florham, starting at 3:30 p.m.