Leopards Start Home Tourney with Win over La Salle

Go Leopards!
Karissa Ciliento recorded a double-double (10 kills, 12 digs) on Friday.

Karissa Ciliento recorded a double-double (10 kills, 12 digs) on Friday.

Sept. 17, 2010

Box Score

EASTON, Pa. - The Lafayette volleyball team got a promising look into the future against La Salle on Friday night, as a trio of freshmen led the way in a 3-1 Leopards' victory. Lafayette took the match by set scores of 25-22, 15-25, 25-17 and 25-21. The contest was a part of the 2010 Lafayette College Invitational, which resumes tomorrow from Kirby Sports Center at 10 a.m.

The Leopards snap a three-match winning streak with the victory, moving to 4-6 on the season. La Salle drops to 3-10. The Explorers still hold the edge in the all-time series by a 13-7 count.

Freshman Molly Belcher, making her first collegiate start at setter, doled out 31 assists and shared the team-high of 18 digs to notch her first career double-double. Fellow freshman Karissa Ciliento also had the first double-double of her young career, tallying personal career highs with 10 kills and 12 digs. First-year libero Mackenzie Larsen continued to fortify to Lafayette back row with 18 digs while also dropping in three service aces.

A pair of veterans also played a big part in the victory, as senior co-captain Kayly Elmer led all players with 14 kills and junior Alana Taylor contributed nine kills and three blocks. Rounding out the Lafayette attack were sophomores Alexandra Russo (four kills) and Kaitlynn Zoller (three kills), junior Mary Cunning (one kill) and Belcher (one kill).

In addition to Larsen's three aces, Ciliento and junior Christy Mebust each landed a pair and Elmer dropped in one.



The match-long trend of runs began early, as the Leopards jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the first set. At that point, despite never allowing more than three consecutive La Salle points, the home team would only score on its own serve once in the ensuing stretch that saw the Explorers claim a lead at 15-14. Now playing from behind, the Leopards would not allow the gap to grow larger than two points to a 21-19 deficit. And just as a 5-1 began the set, another 5-1 spurt brought it to a close as the Leopards took an early advantage with a 25-22, set-one victory.

The Explorers looked their best in set two, siding out Lafayette's serve at an 80% clip (12-15). The visitors themselves capitalized on offensive chances, using a 7-0 stretch in which the Leopards made four attack errors and a receiving error to propel themselves to a 25-15 win that evened the match at 1-1.

The action was very balanced to begin set three, as the score climbed rapidly to an 11-10 lead in favor of the Maroon and White. At that point, the Leopards came out on top of eight straight rallies - burning through both of La Salle's timeouts in the process - to take a commanding 19-10 advantage. The nine-point deficit proved to be insurmountable for the Explorers, as the Leopards took a 2-1 lead in the match with a 25-17 victory in the third set.

With their backs against the wall, the visitors made the first run in set four, as a four straight errors (two attacking, one blocking, one ball-handling) from the Leopards fueled a four-point spurt that put La Salle on top, 10-8. Lafayette responded immediately, however, as a 7-0 run that included all three of Larsen's service aces put the Leopards back on top at 15-10. The margin would erode to as few as two points at 17-15, but quickly ballooned up to seven at 23-16. When the final point was tallied, it was Lafayette closing out the Explorers by a 25-21 mark.

Jacquelyn Mitrovich led La Salle with 13 kills and five blocks, and Kelly Scanlon notched a double-double with 13 kills and 10 digs. Kourtney Clark ran the offense to the tune of a match-best 34 assists, and libero Breanna Mazalewski led all players with 20 digs.

The Leopards will play two matches tomorrow to close out the Lafayette College Invitational. First on tap is Quinnipiac at 10 a.m. followed by Delaware State to wrap-up the event at 5 p.m. The Hornets and Bobcats met in match one of today's action, with Delaware State claiming a five-set victory.

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