LANCASTER, Pa. – The Franklin & Marshall volleyball team fell to first-place Johns Hopkins in a battle of two of the top teams in the Centennial Conference on Wednesday night. The Diplomats (12-8, 5-2 CC) were in each set late against the Blue Jays (15-7, 9-0 CC), but the visitors were able to close each game strong with 25-20, 25-18, and 25-23 scores.
Playing in front a strong home crown on College House and Title IX Celebration night, Sydney Levins led the team with 11 kills, while Gianna Mangiamele added nine more. In addition to 47 team digs, the Diploamts frustrated the Blue Jays attack with seven blocks, including one solo effort and five block assists from Jada West. West added four kills while committing no errors during her eight swings. Liah Perez and Hannah McCarthy led the setters with 14 and 12 assists, respectively.
During each of the first two games, F&M and Johns Hopkins were tied at 16-all before the Blue Jays eventually went up 2-0. Levins hit .333 in the opening game, with four kills and one error in nine attempts, but the Blue Jays limited the Diplomats to just eight kills and forced eight errors during the second game. That number was aided by three blocks from the visitors, but F&M countered with six blocks of its own in the middle game.
Four different players had multiple kills to pace an F&M attack that hit a match-high .227 during the final game. F&M was leading 22-20 in the third after a kill from Levins and a huge solo block from West, but the Blue Jays called timeout just as the Diplomats looked to be on their way to extending the match. JHU certainly responded out of the break with the final five points of the night despite the hosts taking a pair of timeouts in their own right to try and slow that momentum.
Meredith Mangum led the defensive efforts with 13 digs in addition to a perfect night in serve receptions. Coco Shultz accounted for F&M's only two service aces while finishing second on the team with nine digs.
Volleyball will look to bounce back during its final non-conference match of the season tomorrow night against Lebanon Valley. The Diplomats will return home for the final time in the regular season the team welcomes Bryn Mawr to the Mayser Center at 1 p.m. Saturday's match will additionally serve as both Senior Day and a celebration of the team's 50th season as a varsity program. These celebrations will take part as part of the College's True Blue Weekend where homecoming is being celebrated across the campus community.