ALLENTOWN, Pa. – The Franklin & Marshall volleyball team secured the No. 3 seed in next week's Centennial Conference Tournament with a sweep of Muhlenberg on Wednesday night (25-23, 25-17, 25-13). As the scores indicate, the Diplomats (15-8, 7-2 CC) kept getting stronger as the match went along, hitting .419 during the clinching game.
Sydney Levins had 14 of F&M's 46 kills on the night as she hit .481 with just one error over her 27 attempts. Levins added three service aces and one block assist to give her 17.5 points for the night. Gianna Mangiamele and Coco Shultz finished with 9.5 points, while Jada West came up with nine points. The Diplomats hit .292 for the match and held Muhlenberg to a .047 hitting percentage with seven blocks and 56 digs. Meredith Mangum led the team with 18 digs, while Shultz added 14 more to the defensive effort.
A kill and service ace from Levins during back-to-back points looked to put the Diplomats in control of the opening game as they led 22-19 before the Mules scored three straight. However, Liah Perez came to the service line and helped F&M counter with three straight of its own. The game-clinching point came on a combined block from Lauren Arnold, who led the team with four blocks, and Mangiamele.
F&M was up 11-10 midway through the second set before scoring nine of the next 11 points to take control of that game during the eventual 25-17 victory. On the brink of victory, the visiting Diplomats trailed just once during the entire third game and scored eight of the final nine points to take the Centennial Conference victory.
The Diplomats have now registered sweeps during six of their seven Centennial Conference victories and have blanked their opponents 10 times overall. Helping the offense was eight service aces as Mikayla Smith and Shultz each had two for the match. Hannah McCarthy tallied a team-high 19 assists, with Perez contributing 17 more helpers.
Volleyball will look to head into the postseason on a high note as Franklin & Marshall wraps up the regular season this Saturday at McDaniel. That match in Westminster is slated for a 1 p.m. start.