ELIZABETHTOWN, Pa. – The Franklin & Marshall volleyball team found itself down a set on two occasions Wednesday evening, but never gave up the fight during a come-from-behind five-game win at Elizabethtown (20-25, 25-20, 21-25, 25-21, 15-9). The Diplomats have now won three straight matches dating back to this past weekend.
The Diplomats were up 15-11 just over halfway through the opening set, but the Blue Jays took the early advantage by winning 14 of the final 19 points during that initial game. The second set was tied eight times before it was F&M's turn to take over the set late. Knotted at 17-all, the Diplomats ran off four consecutive points during Meredith Mangum's service. Sydney Levins, who tied with Coco Shultz for a team-high 16 kills, put the final point away to even the match.
Following splits of the first two sets by identical 25-20 scores, the Diplomats and Blue Jays traded 25-21 games to force the decisive set. ETown won the third set despite F&M posting its highest hitting percentage of the evening. The Blue Jays were also leading 6-2 early in the fourth before the Diplomats scored 13 of the next 16 points to seize control of the match. Franklin & Marshall got two kills each from co-captain Annmarie Earley, Levins, and Shultz during that huge turning point in the match. The hosts closed their deficit to 17-16 before F&M regrouped to force the decisive game.
The fifth and final game was tied three times early on, but three consecutive kills from Gianna Mangiamele, Earley, and Shultz helped the Diplomats make the change over while leading 8-5. Elizabethtown was within two at 10-8 shortly after, but F&M put an exclamation point on the victory by winning each of the final five points. Two kills from Mangiamele helped bolster that match-winning run.
Shultz, Levins, and Mangiamele all reached double figures in kills during the five-set match, with seven kills from both Jada West and Earley providing a huge boost to the offense. West made it four Diplomats in double figures for points as she also had one solo block and assisted on four others. Hannah McCarthy (25 assists) and Liah Perez (24 assists) put the hitters in good positions all night, with McCarthy adding 11 digs for a double-double. Mangum led the team and tied for a match high with 21 digs. The F&M co-captain also added two of F&M's four service aces.
Volleyball will be back on the road this Friday when the team travels to Scranton for matches against the host Royals (3 p.m.) and RIT (5 p.m.) as a part of that weekend tournament. However, the Diplomats will partake in just one day of that tournament as Centennial Conference play begins at home on Saturday against Ursinus (1 p.m.).