Swat Volleyball Wins Conference Opener

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Genny Pezzola '12. Photo courtesy of the Swarthmore Athletics Department.

On an historic night in Tarble Pavilion, seniors Hillary Santana and Lisa Shang each recorded their 1,000th career dig in a 3-1 victory over the Ursinus Bears in the Centennial Conference opener for the Swarthmore volleyball team (10-2, 1-0 CC).

Santana and Shang join classmate Genny Pezzola with 1,000 career kills, becoming the sixth and seventh players in the 60-year history of the program to surpass the millennium mark.

Against Ursinus, Pezzola also recorded the 1300th dig of her illustrious career and moved within two kills of the Swarthmore program record of 1171 held by Jen Wang ’09.

Coming off just their second loss of the season on Saturday at Salisbury, the Garnet left no doubt on Tuesday, pummeling the Bears from the opening serve. In the opening set, Swarthmore easily handled Ursinus 25-14, the 13th time already this season that the Garnet has held an opponent to 15-points or fewer in a set.

But Ursinus jumped on the Garnet to start the second set, opening up a quick 8-2 lead on a series of Swarthmore errors to force a timeout.  Out of that timeout, the Garnet went on a quick 9-0 run to regain control of the set.  That run was part of a stretch in which the Garnet took 23 of 31 points overall to close out the second set 25-16.

In set three, the Bears broke through 25-20 to force a fourth set marking the first time that the Swarthmore seniors had not defeated Ursinus in straight sets.  In that third set, the Garnet committed seven attacking errors while recording only 12 kills for a .125 hitting percentage.  On the opposite side, a .162 hitting percentage was enough for Ursinus who in both the second and fourth sets was held to a negative percentage.

But two-time defending Centennial Coach of the Year Harleigh Chwastyk quickly composed her side between the third and fourth sets and the Garnet immediately looked a Championship-caliber side.

Swarthmore went down 3-0 in set number four before running off 20 of the next 21 points to take an enormous 20-4 lead behind the service of Danielle Sullivan ’14 and Kate Amide ’15 who ran off eight and nine consecutive serves, respectively.  The Garnet closed out the final set 25-8 for the 3-1 victory.

Pezzola led the team with 14 kills with Danielle Delpeche ’15 adding 12.  The Bears had no answer for the height and athleticism of Delpeche in the middle, who added four blocks on the Garnet defense.

Sullivan also registered double-digit kills with 11.

Defense was again superb for the Garnet with the three seniors, Sullivan, and Allie Coleman ’13 consistently pulling off highlight-reel dives.  Santana led the team with 30 digs, Pezzola added 14, and Shang and Sullivan each had 12.  Coleman recorded 10 digs in addition to her 44 assists and six kills.

Swarthmore returns to action at the York College Spartan Invitational on Friday against Centenary (NJ), a team the Garnet defeated in straight sets at Moravian in the season-opening tournament.  Swarthmore will also face the hosts on Friday, who the Garnet defeated in four sets at Salisbury this past weekend.

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