RICHMOND, Ind. – The Earlham College volleyball team proved competitive in losses to the Pikeville University 3-1 and Muskingum University 3-0 on day one of the 2016 Quaker Classic on Saturday.
The Quakers fell to the Bears 25-21, 25-22, 24-26, 25-18 in four sets and 30-28, 25-23, 25-16 to the Fighting Muskies in straight sets.
In the loss to Pikeville, sophomore Ashleigh Burton led everyone with 18 kills in the match. Fellow sophomore Skylar Muckway added 13 kills and a .300 attack percentage. Freshman setter Lauren Jackson dished out 38 assists and sophomore libero Megan Hedinger had 15 digs.
The Quakers fell behind 10-5 in the first set, but battled back to tie it 16-16 on a kill from sophomore Denisha Mataia. The Bears would win the next four points, however, and ride the four-point advantage to a set one win.
Earlham began the second set with four straight attack errors, and would not get closer until the final stages of the set. Trailing 23-16, the Quakers went on a 6-1 run fueled by four Pikeville attack errors, a kill from Burton, and a service ace from freshman Makaylea Alberts. A Kaitlyn Welsh kill at 24-22 ended the threat for the Bears.
The first 30 points of the third set were played within a four-point window. After side outs tied the set again 16-16, Earlham won four of the next six points to take a 22-18 lead. Pikeville had the answer, however, as four straight points tied the set again 22-22.
Back-to-back kills from Muckway gave Earlham two sets points, but Pikeville would fight both of them off. Tied again at 24-24, a Burton kill followed by a service ace from Meredith Beed gave the Quakers the third set.
The fourth set began tied at 8-8, but a 10-3 run from Pikeville proved to be too much.
Earlham hit. 078 as a team compared to a .233 clip for Pikeville. The Quakers did win the blocking battle 9-6.
In the loss to Muskingum, Burton again led Earlham with 11 kills and a .308 attack percentage. Hedinger tallied 22 digs while Jackson dished out 20 assists.
In set one, the Muskies took a 21-19 lead, but the Quakers stormed back with four straight points from the serve of Jackson. Earlham could not put away eight of the three set points, and Muskingum took advantage and earned a set point of its own at 25-24. Kills from Mataia and freshman Angelica Carpio swung the set back in Earlham's favor, but the Quakers could not finish the deal. An attack error from Burton game Muskingum the set.
The second set proved much of the same as Earlham trailed early but came back to tie the set 23-23. An attack error from Muckway and a Muskingum kill ended the set. The Muskies road the momentum, taking set three and the match.
The Quakers return to action tomorrow (Sunday) for a noon match against Concordia University Chicago.