Spartans Defeat Pitt-Bradford and Muskingum on Opening Night of French Memorial Invitational

Kristen Mitchell posted 40 digs in two matches at libero. (photo by Ryan Baker)
Kristen Mitchell posted 40 digs in two matches at libero. (photo by Ryan Baker)

CLEVELAND – The Case Western Reserve University volleyball team swept the University of Pittsburgh Bradford and rallied from a set down to beat Muskingum University in four sets on the opening night of the 2014 Marcia French Memorial Invitational at Horsburgh Gymnasim.

CWRU, serving as invitational co-host with Baldwin Wallace University, improves to 4-2 for the young season.

Against Pitt-Bradford (3-3), the Spartans won by scores 25-21, 25-15 and 25-17. Six different players recorded at least four kills, including freshman outside hitter Ganiru Anunike (Galena, Ohio/Olentangy) with a match-high eight. Junior Robyn Marks (Waterford, Mich./Waterford Mott) led three Spartan setters in the match with 16 assists, and sophomore libero Kristen Mitchell (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Allegheny) was tops on defense with 19 digs.  

In a spirited match with Muskingum (5-2), the Spartans dropped the opening set 25-19 before rallying for wins of 25-12, 25-15 and 25-13.

Sophomore right side hitter Marian Barton (Custer Park, Ill./Reed-Custer) and sophomore middle hitter Kayla Pfaff (Powell, Ohio/Olentangy Liberty) highlighted the effort with nine kills and five block assists apiece. Marks and sophomore setter Lauren Gurd (Farmington Hills, Mich./Detroit Country Day) racked up 17 and 16 digs, respectively.

Mitchell once again led the defensive charge with a career-high 21 digs, running her total for the day to 40. Junior Katie Best (Sewickley, Pa./North Allegheny), typically the libero, played on the outside and posted 16 digs to go along with a career-best seven kills in just 13 attempts (.462).

The Spartans conclude the weekend on Saturday with matches against Westminster College (Pa.) and Capital University at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., respectively.