BRYN MAWR, Pa. – It was a showdown of two evenly-matched volleyball teams Friday night in the Class of 1958 gym as the Bryn Mawr Owls faced the Penn St.-Abington Nittany Lions. Despite the Nittany Lions picking up wins in the second and third sets, the Owls forged a comeback to seal the victory 3-2 (25-21, 21-25, 16-25, 25-17, 15-13). Captain Nicole Wood led the team, picking up 18 kills in the thriller while Zoe Boxill followed with nine of her own. Sydney Collins also had a monstrous game, providing 30 assists for the night.
While the Owls managed to take the early lead in the first set, the Nittany Lions responded with five consecutive points to gain control. A back-and-forth contest ensued as both teams hoped to gain the competitive edge, keeping a tight score throughout. Bryn Mawr regained the lead at 16-15 and looked to settle the first set by capturing five of the next seven points. Despite a fighting effort from the Nittany Lions to close in on the Owls' lead, dropping it to a one-point difference, a dominant block from Sydney Munnerlyn ended the set and Bryn Mawr went up 1-0.
The second set saw a very similar story in the beginning as the Owls took an early lead to run the score up 5-1. However, the tide would turn as the Nittany Lions began to find their rhythm and went on to secure 10 of the next 12 points. Again, the teams continued to look neck-in-neck, remaining just one to two points within one another for the lead. Three kills from Penn St.-Abington's Jenny McAneney pulled the Nittany Lions out front and with the final points secured off an error, the score fell to 1-1.
Momentum continued on their side as the Nittany Lions pulled ahead quickly in the third set, going up 6-1. Kills from Boxill and Wood sought to change the game's pace and keep the Owls' spirits up, but Penn St.-Abington's McAneney rallied the Nittany Lions as they picked up their largest lead of the set by 11 points at 16-5. The Owls hoped to regain control once more, but the Nittany Lions looked dominant as ever as they maintained the lead for the entire duration of the set to win 25-16. Despite dropping the set, Wood led the Owls with four kills, bringing her game total up to 11.
With the game on the line, the Owls looked to bounce back in the fourth set, on the hunt for the equalizer to send the game into a fifth set. The Owls took an early 2-0 advantage before another balanced melee ensued. Co-captain Izzy Gerosa earned three back-to-back-to-back aces to put the Owls up 18-11 as the team began to slowly find their momentum again. While the Nittany Lions earned six of the next seven points to close in on the Owls' lead, Bryn Mawr notched six consecutive points to close out the set 25-17 with kills from Wood and Collins, forcing the fifth decisive set.
The final set saw a dominant run by the Owls as they never gave up the lead to the Nittany Lions. Boxil and Wood put the Owls on the board with kills early in the set, but three aces from Munnerlyn helped increase the lead to 7-3. Aaliyah Joseph added to the lead with a kill of her own while Boxil and Wood continued their impressive kill runs. Bryn Mawr extended the lead to 14-8, with the win in sight, but that final point would not come easy as Penn St.-Abington responded with five straight points to drop the Owls lead to one. An error by the Nittany Lions proved to be crucial as the Owls secured the game point, walking away victorious and moving to 5-4 this season.
The Bryn Mawr volleyball team faces Cairn this Tuesday, September 21 on the road as they look to expand on their winning record this season. Gametime is slated for 7:00 PM.