SWARTHMORE, Pa. -- The Marymount University women's volleyball team squared off with a pair of tough opponents in Swarthmore College and Stevens Institute of Technology on Saturday afternoon, but the Saints couldn't find a way past either opponent, as the Saints fell to the Garnet and the Ducks.
Marymount (4-3) and Swarthmore (2-3) went toe-to-toe in the opening match of the day with a slugfest five-set match. Both team's offenses were clicking, as the Saints finished with a .239 attack percentage and the Garnet swung at a .196 clip. Swarthmore's defensive presence loomed large over the match, as the home side tallied 10 blocks to slow down MU's attack.
The Saints roared out of the gate and took the first two sets. MU dominated the opener and earned a 25-11 win. Marymount floored 13 kills and swung at a match .565 clip to roll past Swarthmore. The Saints used a pair of four-point runs to take a 14-4 lead. MU rolled from there, as an ace from Natalie Garbalosa brought the set to a close.
Swarthmore pushed Marymount in the second set, as the Saints' early edge slipped towards the end of the set. After a kill from Kaitlyn Doyle gave MU a 23-19 advantage, the Garnet battled back and knotted the score at 23-23. Despite the late push, the Saints sealed the set with a pair of blocks, as a solo effort from Maya Harris and a double-block from Doyle and Harris ended the frame.
Despite the 2-0 lead, the Marymount was unable to keep Swarthmore at bay. The Garnet took the third and fourth sets to force the fifth and final stanza. Swarthmore opened a 14-8 edge, but Marymount fended off a pair of match-points with kills from Caylee Shelton and Harris, but it was too little, too late, as Swarthmore won the next point and the match.
A trio of Saints finished with double-figure kills, as Elissa Munsterman, Doyle, and Shelton tallied 16, 15, and 13 kills, respectively. Shelton finished with a double-double with 11 digs. Sydney Sands posted 37 assists, while Garbalosa registered a new career-high with 34 digs.
MU (4-4) ran into a strong Stevens (7-0) side in the second match of the day. The Ducks offense proved tough to keep pace with, as they hit .286 as a team. Stevens boasted a strong defensive presence as well with 50 digs compared to the Saints' 39.
The first set was a back-and-forth affair that featured plenty of lead changes. Marymount took the lead at 16-14 after back-to-back kills from Munsterman, but Stevens answered immediately with two consecutive points.
After the Ducks took a late lead, a Marymount block pulled the Saints back within one at 23-22. That was as close as MU got, however, as Stevens stole the final two points. With momentum on the Ducks side, Marymount was unable to overcome Stevens' consistent attack in the final two frames.
Doyle led the Saints' offense with 14 kills and a solid .379 attack percentage. The performance marked the fourth time this season that the junior reached the double-digit kill plateau. Garbalosa added 17 digs to lead the team, while Sands chipped in 20 assists.
MU remains on the road for its next contest against Johns Hopkins University on Wednesday, September 15. The match against the Blue Jays, who were tied for second in the most recent American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll, is set for a 7:00 p.m. start.