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Invitational victory propels team to 13-2 start

September 25th, 2014

 

The John Carroll University volleyball team continued its winning streak with a pair of sweeps this past weekend at the Carnegie Mellon Invitational.

 

JCU has been unstoppable for the last three sets of weekend tournaments, racking in 10 straight wins and upping their record to 13-2.

 

The highlight of the weekend came when the Blue Streaks swept the Tartans of CMU on Saturday, 26-24, 25-21, 25-23.

 

On Friday, the Tartans knocked off No. 5 University of Mount Union in three sets.

 

JCU showed a stellar defensive performance, with three players accumulating digs in double digits. Junior Sara Kaminski added 22, while sophomore Kit O’Shaugnessy followed closely behind her with 15. Freshman Mena Afsarifard also contributed 12 digs of her own.

 

Offensively, the duo of sophomore Leah Switalski and freshman Julianne McGervey could not be stopped. Switalski contributed 14 kills, while McGervey contributed 13 playing opposite of her.

 

Sophomore Alexa Webber snuck in nine of her own to give the Blue Streaks an overwhelming offensive advantage.

 

The duo of Switalski and McGervey had as many kills as the entire CMU roster combined.

 

O’Shaughnessy continued her role as the team’s best setter, finishing with a whopping 42 assists during the match.

 

“Beating Carnegie [Melon] was a huge confidence boost,” Switalski said.  “It was a total team effort.  It was a huge win that we needed since losing to Case Western Reserve. We went in with respect for their program and determined to beat them after hearing they beat Mount Union.”

 

While a victory over CMU was certainly a highlight, the Blue Streaks also knocked off Buffalo State University, the University of Pitt-Greensburg and the University of Scranton.

 

Buffalo State handed JCU its only set loss of the tournament, but the Blue Streaks prevailed 25-17, 25-10, 22-25, 25-22.

 

Offensively, the trio of Webber, Switalski and junior Sarah Orlandi all reached double digits in kills. Kaminski led the defensive effort with 35 digs, while sophomore Katie Cosker contributed 19 of her own. To go along with 37 assists, O’Shaughnessy also added 12 digs.

Womens Vball

After a nail-biting match, the Blue Streaks made quick work of Pitt-Greensburg, 25-9,25-12, 25-13.

 

The Blue and Gold recorded a total of 39 kills and posted a .384 attack percentage in the tournament. Defensively, junior Alex Ehrett contributed four blocks.

 

After the defeat of CMU on Saturday, the Blue Streaks came out ready to go against Scranton, completing the sweep 25-18, 25-17, 25-15.

 

Orlandi led the team’s attack with 13 kills .Switalski and McGervey contributed nine more each.

 

JCU recorded 10 total blocks defensively. With a combined 30 digs from Kaminski and O’Shaughnesy, the Royals could not get points on the board.

 

“I’ve said it to the team before, but last year was our time to surprise people,” said head coach Laura Rodeffer. “This year, teams know about the talent we have on our roster, so I don’t think we’ll be catching any conference opponents by surprise any time soon.”

 

The Blue Streaks host three of their next four matches, as they head into the later half of their schedule with one of the best starts in program history. JCU volleyball hasn’t won 20 matches since 2001, but if the team keeps this pace up, they will crack that 20 win mark by the time the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament rolls around.

“We are still the underdog and people are out to get us,” Switalski said.  “However, we still have a lot of goals to accomplish, until JCU becomes a household name, and  we aren’t too far from those goals.”