|Kristin Kirwan||Brittany Cafiero|
|Kristen Sweeney||Danielle Cafiero|
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - Sophomore Kristin Kirwan (Park Ridge, N.J./Immaculate Heart Academy) led the attack with 27 kills, while senior setter Brittany Cafiero (Merrick, N.Y./Kellenberg Memorial) finished with a career-high 59 assists, pacing the University of Scranton volleyball team to a thrilling five-set victory over Averett on Friday night to open the Christopher Newport Invitational.
In the nightcap, the Royals dropped a three-set decision to host Christopher Newport. With the split, the Royals are now 7-6 on the year.
Against Averett, the Royals were finally able to take control of a see-saw match in the fifth set (25-23, 24-26, 26-24, 23-25, 15-10).
After the Royals rallied from a late three-point deficit (21-16) to take the first set by two, Averett came back to from a 24-21 deficit at the end of the second set to get back in the match with a two-point win on a tiebreak. The third set also went to a tiebreak, which saw Scranton rally from a 23-20 deficit late to take a 26-24 win and a 2-1 lead in the match.
In the fourth set, Scranton looked primed to end it in four, taking a 21-18 lead. But, as was the theme all match, Averett rallied late, scoring seven of the final nine points to send the match to a fifth set, marking the fourth straight contest that the Royals went the distance.
But, in the fifth set, the Royals took control and stopped any kind of comeback from Averett. A 10-5 lead by the Royals early was too much for Averett to come back from, as Scranton rolled to a five-point win to take the match.
Overall, Kirwan was dominant yet again on the attack for Scranton, going over 20 kills in a contest for the fifth time already on the 2016 season. With eight more kills in the CNU match, Kirwan already has 210 kills for the year.
Elsewhere on the attack, junior Kristen Sweeney (Yorktown Heights, N.Y./Yorktown) finished with a career-high 13 kills, sophomore Catherine Manning (Eastchester, N.Y./Eastchester) ended with 11 kills, and junior Morgan Rentzheimer (Allentown, Pa./Parkland) chipped in with 10 kills.
Many of those attacks were set up by Cafiero, who had the best night of her four-year career statistically in the match with her 59 assists, breaking the previous mark of 53 set last season. On defense, senior Danielle Cafiero (Merrick, N.Y./Kellenberg Memorial) finished the game off with 29 digs, as well.
In the nightcap against host Christopher Newport, CNU rolled past the Royals in a three-set victory (18-25, 10-25, 19-25). Kirwan had 10 digs in the defeat, while Brittany Cafiero added 10 more assists in a losing effort.
The University of Scranton volleyball team finishes off the CNU Invitational tomorrow, as the Royals will take on Averett and Christopher Newport yet again. The Averett match will start at 2 p.m., followed by the CNU match at 4 p.m.