|Carah Vitkus||Kindler Norman|
SCRANTON -- Freshman Carah Vitkus (Mahopac, N.Y./Mahopac) finished with 18 kills on the attack to lead The University of Scranton volleyball team Saturday vs. Catholic, pacing the Royals to a 3-1 win over the visiting Cardinals in Landmark Conference action.
In the Royals' nightcap against 13th-ranked Juniata, Scranton dropped a hard-fought 3-1 decision to the visiting Eagles. With the split, Scranton moved to 11-8 overall and 1-1 in the Landmark.
Scranton 3, Catholic 1 (19-25, 25-22, 25-18, 25-23) | Box Score
To open the match over Catholic, the Royals started slow and never recovered, as the Cardinals opened up an early 13-5 lead and never looked back in an eventual six-point win that put them up, 1-0, in the match.
But, in the second set, Scranton found their footing, as they pulled away late to take a three-point win and not the match up at 1-1.
In the third game, the Royals came out on fire, opening a 7-0 lead to start. They proceeded to not give up the lead the rest of the way in the set and pulled out a seven-point win to take a 2-1 lead in the contest.
In the fourth game, it was Catholic who got out to a quick, big lead, as the Cardinals opened an 8-2 edge early. But, Scranton gradually got back into the contest, tying the match up at 10-10 after an 8-2 run.
The set was close from then on out, coming to a head after a Catholic point made it a 23-23 score. There, the Royals grabbed the set and the match, as junior's Jillian Graham (Wantagh, N.Y./Wantagh) and Tess Ungerleider (Springboro, Ohio/Archbishop Alter) clinched the win for Scranton with back-to-back kills.
Overall, in the win, Vitkus was dominant on the attack, as her 18-kill performance was her second-best of the season to date. Elsewhere, junior Kindler Norman (Pittsburgh, Pa./Upper St. Clair) set up the Royals attack all match, finishing with 43 assists, while also posting 13 digs and five kills.
Elsewhere, Ungerleider and Graham finished with eight kills, apiece, and on defense, sophomore Molly Dunfee (King of Prussia, Pa./Villa Maria Academy) led the way with 17 digs. At the net, senior Victoria Capogna (Farmingdale, N.Y./St. Anthony's) had a big match, finishing with six block-assists, as the Royals finished the match with 20 total block-assists.
No. 13 Juniata 3, Scranton 1 (16-25, 33-31, 11-25, 24-26) | Box Score
In the nightcap against Juniata, the visiting Eagles came out strong in the first set, rolling to a nine-point win. But, the second set was anything but smooth sailing for the nationally-ranked opposition for the Royals.
Late in the set, Scranton seemed poised to even the match quickly, as they opened a 19-11 lead on Juniata. But, the Eagles clawed their way back in it as they scored nine of the next 10 points to tie the set up at 20-20.
From there, it was a back and forth, see-saw affair the rest of the set. Tied up at 25-all, the match went into a tie-break. Here, both teams had opportunities to win the set, only to see their opponent come back to keep the set going.
Things came to a head with the score tied 31-31, where after a service error by Juniata, Scranton went up 32-31 with a chance to win the set. And, the Royals did just that, as a kill by freshman Caileigh Cox (Randolph, N.J./Randolph) put the game away, giving Scranton a thrilling two-point, long tiebreak win and tying the match up at 1-1.
In the third set, however, Juniata rolled to a dominating 14-point win to go back up, 2-1, on the Royals. The fourth set saw Scranton take control late, as they opened a 24-19 lead and appeared like they had the momentum ready to take the game and send things to a decisive fifth set.
But, Juniata came all the way back, scoring five points in a row to tie it up at 24-all to send it to a tiebreak. Taking the momentum back away from Scranton, the Eagles finished the match off with two more points, as Juniata ended the game on a 7-0 run to win the match, 3-1.
Overall in the tough defeat, Cox led the attack with 11 kills, while Vitkus finished off a strong day with 10 kills in the loss. Norman ended a strong day setting up the attack with 34 assists for the Royals. Junior libero Regina Schetroma (Downingtown, Pa./Downingtown West) ended the game with 18 digs to lead the defense, while Dunfee finished with 12 digs.
The University of Scranton volleyball team returns to action on Friday, as they take on Messiah in a match that will be played at Swarthmore College. Action gets underway at 5 p.m.