Spartans Split on Day One of French Memorial Tournament

The Spartans split their two matches on Friday evening. (photo by Ryan Baker)
The Spartans split their two matches on Friday evening. (photo by Ryan Baker)

CLEVELAND – The Case Western Reserve University volleyball team split a pair of matches on day one of the 15th Annual Marcia French Memorial Tournament at Horsburgh Gymnasium. The Spartans opened the day with a 3-1 victory versus local-rival John Carroll University but fell in five sets to Buffalo State University (N.Y.) to close out the night.

The Spartans (3-3) wrap up the weekend tomorrow with a pair of matches versus Geneva College (Pa.) at 10:00 a.m. and Capital University at 2:00 p.m. This tournament is being co-hosted by Baldwin Wallace University.

Versus John Carroll (4-2), the Spartans started fast with a .242 hitting percentage in the first set to win 25-20. The Blue Streaks evened the match via a 25-15 win in the second, but the Spartans claimed the next two by counts of 25-16 and 25-23.

Sophomore outside hitter Carolyn Bogart (New Berlin, Wis./New Berlin Eisenhower) was the top player in the attack with 15 kills versus just three errors. Freshman Lauren Gurd (Farmington Hills, Mich./Detroit Country Day), starting for injured sophomore Robyn Marks (Waterford, Mich./Waterford Mott), set the offense with 29 assists.

Defensively, sophomore libero Katie Best (Sewickley, Pa./North Allegheny) tallied 24 digs, while freshman Julie Colaianni (North Olmsted, Ohio/St. Joseph Academy) and Gurd posted 12 and 10, respectively. In the block, Gurd contributed one solo and one assist, while junior middle hitter Natalie Southard (Buffalo, N.Y./City Honors School) totaled four assists.

The Blue Streaks were led by Leah Switalski with 11 kills and Kit O'Shaughnessy with 39 assists and 11 digs.

Versus Buffalo State (2-4), the Spartans grabbed the first set 25-14 before the visitors reeled off two-straight wins by scores of 25-18 and 25-13. Case evened the match in the fourth, 25-18, behind a .289 hitting percentage. However, Buffalo State claimed the deciding set, 15-12, to hand the Spartans their third loss of the season.

Bogart led four Spartans in double-figures with 20 kills, while freshman outside hitter Isabelle Wagner (Avon Lake, Ohio/Avon Lake) posted 14. Gurd blew past her season-high total from the JCU match with 52 assists – one of the top totals in program history.

Defensively, five Spartans finished with double-figure digs, led by Colaianni with 23 and Best with 21.