The regular season ended for The University’s volleyball team, but its late-season hot streak is still strong.
The Royals defeated Moravian College 3-1 in the first round of the Landmark Conference Tuesday night, advancing to the semifinals for the first time since 2008.
The Royals battled in the first set of the night against the Greyhounds. The University prevailed 25-22, thanks in part to sophomore outside hitter Lizzy Zimmermann’s three kills. Zimmermann ended the night with 13 kills, seven digs and two blocks.
Junior Julia Crilly had a huge impact for the Royals the entire night, recording 19 kills and 23 digs. Seven kills came in a dominating 25-17 win in the second set. Crilly’s double-double was the 16th of the season.
Moravian staved off defeat with a 25-19 victory in the third set, but the Royals roared back for a game-ending 25-13 victory in the fourth set.
First-year setter Bailey Woods also played a huge role for the Royals. She tallied 40 assists in the playoff game, her second-most assists in one game. Her 592 assists on the season are 15th-most in a single season for the Royals. Senior libero Michaela McCrudden also added 14 digs.
Moravian ended the season with a 12-22 record. First-year Taylor Kornmann powered the Greyhounds with a strong individual night, leading the team in kills (17) and blocks (6).
The Royals have come a long way from their tumultuous start to the season. Under new coach Jamie Spangler, the team staggered to a 6-19 record in the first 25 games of the season, including a 1-3 conference record. Since then, the Royals have gone on a 7-4 stretch that has continued into the playoffs.
Two more wins would give the Royals their first conference championship since 2005, when The University played in the Middle Atlantic Conference. It would also award the Royals their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2005.
The win against Moravian marks only the second time that the Royals have ever won a Landmark Conference playoff game. They are 2-4 in school history in Landmark postseason play.
Their only other Landmark postseason win came in 2007. The Royals defeated Catholic 3-0 in this match.
The Royals’ next opponent is top-seeded Juniata College. The Eagles have a 28-4 record, including a perfect 5-0 conference record. Scranton and Juniata have played each other twice this season. Both matches ended in 3-0 sweeps by the Eagles.
The Royals will travel to Juniata to play the Eagles at 5:30 p.m. Friday in the conference semifinals match. The winner of the Scranton/Juniata match will play the winner of the match between Catholic University and Susquehanna University in the conference championship match.
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