Volleyball downs Franklin in four sets to close regular season

Caroline Mulvihill

Updated 11:45 p.m., Sat., Nov. 2, with tournament seed information

FRANKLIN, Ind. – The Earlham College volleyball team closed the books on its 2019 regular season slate with a 3-1 (25-17, 22-25, 26-24, 25-23) victory over Franklin College, in a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference match on Saturday at the Spurlock Center.

With the victory, Earlham finished the season with an 18-8 overall record, 6-3 in the HCAC, and clinched the no. 3 seed for next week's HCAC Volleyball Tournament. The Quakers will host the no. 6 seed Bluffton University in an opening-round game of the HCAC Tournament on Wednesday, Nov. 6, in the Druley Performance Gym (start time TBD). No. 4 seed Rose-Hulman will host no. 5 seed Defiance in the other opening round match, while no. 1 seed Transylvania and no. 2 seed Hanover will receive byes into the tournament semifinals.

Franklin slipped to 15-15 overall with the loss, 3-6 in the HCAC.

Sophomore Caroline Mulvihill paced Earlham with 18 kills on 50 attacks with two errors, for a .320 hitting percentage. Sophomore Abbey Zanatta tallied 12 kills – her second double-digit kill performance in her last three matches – on 34 swings for a .265 attack clip, while junior Julia Stewart finished with 11 kills and also hit .265 for the match.

First-year Jennifer Shamel turned up 20 digs to lead a trio of Quakers with double-digit dig totals; she was joined on that list by senior setter Lauren Jackson (15 digs) and senior libero Sydney Ameluxen (13 digs).

Jackson guided the offense to a .194 hitting percentage as a team while recording 48 assists. Ameluxen also served up three aces for the Quakers.

Franklin was led by four players in double figures in kills, led by Grace Laker and Abby Sewell with 15 each. The Grizzlies hit .155 for the match and committed 31 attack errors – most in a four-set match this season by Franklin. Defensively, the Grizzlies outworked the Quakers with 97 digs, led by Mackenzie Waldran and Kyndall Boyll who each sprawled for 21 digs.

In the first set, Earlham jumped out in front of Franklin with an eight-point run off Ameluxen's serve, which ended with the Quakers holding a 9-3 lead. The Grizzlies eventually whittled the margin down to three points at 16-13, before the Quakers responded with a 7-2 surge, fueled by a pair of Ameluxen aces, that advanced Earlham to 23-15. After a pair of Franklin points, a Mulvihill kill and a Grizzly attack error clinched the set for the Quakers.

Franklin eked out the set two victory, and Earlham squeezed out a 26-24 triumph in set three by scoring three straight points off a 23-24 deficit. Stewart put down a kill to knot the set at 24-24, and a double-block from Zanatta and Mulvihill, followed by a Zanatta termination, cinched the frame for Earlham.

Franklin held a lead in set four as late as 14-16 before a four-point Quaker run vaulted Earlham into an 18-16 lead. The Maroon and White led the rest of the way, eventually sealing the victory with a Sarah Dickman kill.