MOUNT VERNON — After pushing Crossroads League leader and NAIA No. 19 Saint Francis to five sets in the day’s opener before falling, Mount Vernon Nazarene University volleyball (8-8, 0-6 CL) regrouped to sweep past Mount St. Joseph, 25-18, 25-14, 25-13.
Saint Francis (18-2, 7-0 CL) came in to the day as winners of their last 13 matches, but MVNU seized a 2-0 lead, 25-23, 25-21.
Set 3 was neck-and-neck, but Maria Pelak’s kill concluded after a long rally with USF surviving with a 25-23 win. USF getting on the board seemed to spark some confidence of their own, as Set 4 went its way, 25-11, and the visitors’ momentum continued in Set 5 as they completed the comeback with a 15-5 win.
It was the first time all-season Saint Francis had been pushed to the decisive fifth set in the Crossroads League this season, as they remained unbeaten amongst league opponents (7-0).
Three players notched double-digit kills for MVNU in Kristen Osborn (12), Tory Small (12) and Nicole Winkler (10). Mary Kate Harmody was also effective with eight kills and a .250 hitting percentage. Regan Nickol dished out 24 assists, and Katelyn Dufur had 17 assists with 11 digs. Dufur was one of four players with double-digit digs, led by Ellie Ruby’s career-high 24, Osborn’s 22, Dufur’s 11 and Winkler’s 10.
The Cougars played a clean match against NCAA Division III Mount St. Joseph, as they limited the Lions’ attack to just 27 kills and .141 hitting percentage. MVNU compiled 45 kills with a .356 hitting percentage, it’s second highest mark of the season.
Winkler had a career-high 16 kills, and Dufur had one of her best all-around games this season with 10 putaways on 15 attacks (.600 hitting percentage), a team-high 22 assists nd six digs.
MVNU will prepare for another match in Ariel Arena against Otterbein University (8-4) Tuesday at 7 p.m.