Spartans Rally Past Hiram in Five, Finish Home Schedule Undefeated

Jessica Justice (photo by Ryan Baker)
Jessica Justice (photo by Ryan Baker)

CLEVELAND – There were several moments on Tuesday when the Case Western Reserve University volleyball team sat on the brink of defeat. However, a spirited rally lifted the Spartans past Hiram College in a thrilling five-setter at Horsburgh Gymnasium.

Now 12-7 overall, the Spartans finish the home portion of the 2014 schedule at 6-0. The Terriers, who had won four in a row, drop to 18-4 for the year.

Hiram claimed the first set by a score of 25-17 before CWRU won the second, 25-16. The Terriers also won the third, 25-19, but the Spartans rallied in a wild fourth set, 29-27. Then down 8-2 in the fifth, CWRU reeled off four in a row as part of a 12-2 run to win the match.

Individually, three Spartans finished with double-figure kills. Junior outside hitter Carolyn Bogart (New Berlin, Wis./New Berlin Eisenhower) and sophomore middle hitter Kayla Pfaff (Powell, Ohio/Olentangy Liberty) each tallied 13, while junior middle hitter Haley Kauffman (Hartville, Ohio/Lake) posted 11. Freshman setter Jessica Justice (St. Augustine, Fla./St. Augustine) recorded a season-high 25 assists, and sophomore setter Lauren Gurd (Farmington Hills, Mich./Detroit Country Day) added 18.

Defensively, junior outside hitter Katie Best (Sewickley, Pa./North Allegheny) racked up 18 digs to lead four in double-digits. Sophomore libero Julie Colaianni (North Olmsted, Ohio/St. Joseph Academy) registered a career-high 17, while Gurd added 16 for her first double-double of 2014 and sixth career. Justice also finished with a double-double, her first career, as she added 13 digs.

Pfaff finished the match with a block solo and a block assist, both which came during CWRU's run in the fifth set.

The Spartans closed the match out with successive kills from junior rightside hitter Danielle Witri (Lakewood, Ohio/Lakewood), Best and Justice. 

Hiram was led in the attack by Lindsay Brewer with 22 kills and Tierra Moore with 55 assists. Regina Zyle led the Terriers on defense with 26 digs.  

The Spartans jump back into conference play at the University Athletic Association Round Robin #2 in Chicago this Saturday and Sunday, October 18-19. The team plays four matches in two days beginning with a 10:30 a.m. (CT) matchup with Brandeis University (Mass.) on Saturday.