EASTON/BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Inspired by sensational efforts from several Quinnipiac underclassmen, the Bobcats prevailed for their first win of the 2013 campaign on Friday from the Lehigh/Lafayette Crosstown Tournament. The Bobcats took down St. Francis Brooklyn, 3-1 (21-25, 25-18, 25-23, 25-19), in a rematch of Wednesday's thrilling five set affair in which Quinnipiac lost to the Terriers. In the nightcap of Friday's action, the Bobcats finished the day with a 3-0 (25-14, 25-12, 25-18) loss to co-host Lehigh. With the day's split, Quinnipiac moves to 1-7 on the season while St. Francis stands 3-7 and the Mountain Hawks improve to 6-3.
Freshman Katie Urycki (Chesterton, Ind.) starred on Friday with season-highs in kills (11), digs (12) and blocks (six) to compile her first career double double in the match against St. Francis. Fellow freshmen classmates Allison Leigh (eight kills, eight digs, three blocks), Emma Ogden (37 assists, seven digs, three service aces) and Jamie Paolucci (eight kills, three digs, two blocks) all stepped up with clutch performances in their young careers. Senior Logan Riker (13 digs) and sophomore Melissa Dal Pozzo (four kills, six blocks) also chipped in vital minutes in the Bobcats' triumph.
Shades of Wednesday night were evident early for the Bobcats as they trailed 23-14 late in the first set. Quinnipiac roared back and reeled off seven consecutive points to cut the gap to just two. The Bobcats pulled out a monumental, five point come-from-behind victory over the Terries on Wednesday to claim the fourth set. Their late-game magic brought them back but came up just short on Friday as they ultimately fell, 25-21.
Their built up momentum in the first carried over into the second as they came out firing on all cylinders with a 13-3 start to the set. Ogden factored heavily with four assists and two service aces to carry the load. The Terriers followed up and narrowed the gap to five points but Ogden's served once again carried Quinnipiac down the stretch as she hit another ace to cap a 4-0 run to help win the set.
Both sides traded points throughout the third set until the latter stages when the Terries held a 19-15 lead. Urycki then came to play as she combined with Ogden for a pair of kills and then Paolucci came in to finish the job as she recorded a resounding kill to give the Bobcats a 24-23 lead. The Lake Mary, Fla. product then combined with Leigh for a stifling block that gave the Bobcats a 25-23 set victory.
Another late set run carried Quinnipiac in the fourth set as they started the set off strong with a 9-5 run and maintained the advantage throughout the deciding set. St. Francis did creep back in as the score narrowed to as close as 20-18 but this young Bobcat squad prevailed once again starting with a kill from Leigh. Sophomore Chandler Thornton then came in and finished it off with a kill that gave Quinnipiac their first victory of the season.
Quinnipiac then rode into Bethlehem, Pa. to take on co-host Lehigh. Despite a balanced offensive attack that saw seven Bobcats record at least two kills, Quinnipiac fell 3-0. Junior Brittanie Robinson came up with one of her best matches of the season as she went for four kills and eight digs. Thornton and junior Tanner Celestin each tallied four kills each while Ogden went for 20 assists.
The Mountain Hawks took command early as they started the first set on a 12-4 run. Despite a brief Bobcat run that started with two kills from Paolucci, Lehigh closed out the set victory with a 6-2 run.
In the second frame, Lehigh once again built up a commanding lead and claimed the set victory, 25-12. The Bobcat offense wasn't to blame in the second set however, as they totaled 12 kills for all of their points in the frame. Celestin carried the load with four kills in the set while Robinson, Urycki, Leigh and freshman Sam Alechko all chimed in with two kills each.
The Bobcats started out strong in the third set as they took advantage of several Mountain Hawk errors combined with the offensive effort of Thornton (two kills). Lehigh then regained their advantage as they knocked off five straight points. The Bobcats didn't go away quickly as they traded points and tied the score at 18-18 but seven straight Lehigh points to close the set proved the difference in their victory.
Quinnipiac looks to continue their winning ways tomorrow as they will take on co-host Lafayette and then close out the tournament slate with Morgan St. from Easton, Pa.
Contact: Maxx McNall; email@example.com