Wilmington, Del. (September 10, 2016) – After an 0-4 start to the 2016 season, the Franklin Pierce volleyball team picked up three wins at the Wildcat Invitational hosted by Wilmington University this weekend. The Ravens split both matches on Friday evening, but rallied to take both contests Saturday afternoon with 3-1 (26-24, 24-26, 25-17, 25-19) victory over Chestnut Hill and a 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-17) sweep of the host Wildcats. The crimson and grey improve to 3-5 on the year with the 3-1 weekend showing.
Sophomore middle hitter Abigail Sonuga (Haverhill, Mass.) was named to the All-Tournament team after she compiled a team-high 46 kills and 17 blocks in the four games. Sonuga hit at a .310 clip, led the team in kills in three of the four matches and set a single game career-high with eight total blocks against the host Wildcats.
With their win against Wilmington, Raven Head Coach Stephanie Dragan earned her 100th career victory as Head Coach at Franklin Pierce. Dragan's 100th victory made her the programs all-time winningest coach passing Bob Welner's (1988-1993) previous record of 99 wins.
Game One: Franklin Pierce 3, Chestnut Hill 1 (26-24, 24-26, 25-17, 25-19)
As a team, the Ravens racked up a .161 hitting percentage to the Griffins .085, but Chestnut Hill had a more prominent net presence as they made 22 blocks to Franklin Pierces' nine.
For the third straight contest Abigail Sonuga led the Ravens attack with 15 kills while outside hitter Katie Leidhold (Acushnet, Mass.) matched her teammate with 15 kills of her own. Leidhold was active on the defensive end chipping in 18 digs which resulted in her first double-double of the season. Junior captain Hannah St. Jean (Olympia, Wash.) added 11 kills of her own and a .400 hitting percentage. Brittney Carias (Burlingame, Calif.) was the defensive leader for the Ravens with 23 digs and Hannah Runge (Deltona, Fla.) tallied a season-high 46 assists, three service aces and had 16 digs.
In the early stages of set one, a Madison McBride kill set up by Kennedy Sutton put the Griffins out in front 11-10. The Ravens notched five straight points using two big service aces from Runge to take a 14-10 lead. FPU retained a four point advantage before the Griffins brought their deficit down to one 19-18 late in the set. The Ravens went up ahead three points, 24-21 thanks to a Leidhold kill. Chestnut Hill came back, but FPU held strong to take the first set 26-24.
The Ravens jumped out to an 18-12 lead in the second set, but the Griffins came back got the set down to a manageable 21-18 score. The squads swapped points as the second stanza went into extra serves and Regina Trabosh clinched the set for Chestnut Hill with a service ace.
The crucial third set was a back and forth affair which saw the Griffins rallying from a 12-7 score midway through, only to cut it to one point after a Ravens ball handling error. FPU responded with six straight points using a huge block from freshman middle hitter Abigail Garnhart (Colorado Springs, Colo.) to go up 21-14. A Chestnut Hill attack error got the Ravens their final point and the match advantage 2-1.
Game Two: Franklin Pierce 3, Wilmington 0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-17)
Katie Leidhold tallied her second double-double of the day with a game-best 15 kills and 13 digs. Abigail Sonuga continued her strong play with 11 kills, a .375 hitting percentage and career-high eight total blocks. Defensive specialist Brittney Carias set a personal-best in digs with 26 and Hannah Runge notched her third straight 30+ assist outing.
For the match, the Ravens out-swung the Wildcats with a .196 hitting percentage to the hosts .076. FPU also held the advantage at the net with a season-high 22 total blocks.
The crimson and grey trailed early, but came from behind and jumped to a 14-9 lead with Madison Klusendorf serving. Their lead increased to a set-high eight points, 19-11 after a Leidhold kill. A Megan Ward kill brought the Raven lead down to three 24-21 and on the next possession, Leidhold ended the comeback bid with the 25th point.
The second set would be described as a battle with no squad taking advantage until Danielle Varricchio (Boynton Beach, Fla.) began serving and FPU jumped out to a six point, 18-12 lead. A block by the duo of Rebecca Rawlinson and Allison Briley cut the Ravens lead to 21-19, but the crimson and grey held on strong for the two point, 25-23 win.
FPU had to rally in the third set as they trailed 9-3 in the early going. They tied up the score at 15 each before embarking on a 4-0 mini run that brought them out ahead 19-15. They eventually won the set 25-17 on a Jenna Brown service error.
The Ravens head home to Rindge for their home opener on Friday night against non-conference opponent NYIT at 6:00 p.m.
For more information on Franklin Pierce Athletics, please visit the official website of Franklin Pierce Athletics (http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu). Also be sure to follow the Ravens through the Department of Athletics' official Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/FranklinPierceRavens), its YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/franklinpiercesports) and its Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/FPUathletics). Fans wishing to purchase Franklin Pierce cross country apparel can do so at the Department of Athletics' online store (http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu/store).