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Owls Give Franklin & Marshall Good Fight in Centennial Conference Showdown

Jessie Zong and Sienna Burnett blocking against Franklin & Marshall in October 2018

BRYN MAWR, Pa. - The Bryn Mawr volleyball team played their final home contest of 2018 earlier Saturday afternoon, and it ended up being a strong performance from the Owls. The team welcomed surprise Centennial Conference frontrunners Franklin & Marshall to campus for a big league game. Despite a slow start to the match, the Owls warmed up in the second set and certainly gave the Diplomats all they could handle. In the end, F&M claimed a 3-0 win of the match, thanks in part to nine kills apiece from Grace Maggiore, Nicole Carey, and Casey Morrow. Bryn Mawr was led by five kills from Jessie Zong, while Camille Baechler and Kira Ogoshi each tallied double-digit digs on the day.

The first set was a bit of a rough start for Bryn Mawr, as the Diplomats jumped out to a quick 10-1 lead. A kill from Nicole Wood put a momentary stop to that run, and then later Sienna Burnett and Wood each tallied more kills. Those got Bryn Mawr within 13-5, but a 10-0 run from the Diplomats put the set virtually out of reach. An error from Franklin & Marshall and an ace by Jocelyn Bravo briefly halted the visitors' moemntum, but Franklin & Marshall sealed the deal with two more points to win the set 25-7.

Many teams would have wilted after such a tough opening set, but Bryn Mawr did completely the opposite. The Owls came out on fire in the second set, with a kill from Jessie Zong getting things started. Zong would tally another just moments later, and then two errors from the Diplomats gave the Owls a 4-2 lead. Two more errors and then a kill from Camille Baechler boosted that lead to 7-4. Jane Rand would tally the next kill for the Owls, and she would later add a beautiful serve for an ace to put Bryn Mawr up 11-7. Bryn Mawr continued to keep Franklin & Marshall at bay throughout the middle and latter stages of the set. A kill from Burnett and two more from Rand got the Owls a 17-14 advantage. Then, the Diplomats' errors began to pile up, and another kill from Baechler and an ace by Ogoshi gave Bryn Mawr a 23-18 advantage. However, the Diplomats began to chip away at that deficit pretty quickly. The visitors earned three points before Bryn Mawr got another side out, but that gave the Owls two cracks at set point. Unfortunately, they could not convert on either of them. In fact, the Diplomats won the next four points, giving them a set point of their own at 25-24.

That began a high-stress ending to the frame where both teams each had numerous chances to close out the set. The Owls fought off that first F&M chance, then earned another of their own by going ahead 26-25 on a Diplomat attack error. Then, it was F&M's turn to win back-to-back points, going up 27-26 and getting another set point. Jessie Zong shut that down with a quick kill, and then an attack error gave the Owls their fourth set point at 28-27. The Dips staved that off on an Owls service error, but Bryn Mawr got a fifth chance after a huge kill by Zong on a great assist by Rand. However, they were unable to capitalize once again, and that finally caught up to the Owls as Franklin & Marshall won three straight points to rally and earn a 31-29 win of the set.

Franklin & Marshall used the momentum from that big victory to open up an early lead in the third frame as well. The visitors jumped ahead 7-0 out of the gate, and that left Bryn Mawr chasing the game the rest of the way. Camille Baechler notched two straight kills to get Bryn Mawr on the board, and later a kill by Burnett got the Owls within 11-6. Burnett tallied another kill a little bit later, and that helped spark a run that got the Owls back in the game a bit. Rand tallied a kill in that stretch, and the Diplomats helped with plenty of errors of their own, but in the end, it was not enough to get Bryn Mawr back in the set. Ultimately, Franklin & Marshall held on to win the set 25-16 and claim the 3-0 win on the day.

That closes the book on Bryn Mawr's home contests this season, but the Owls still have a couple contests left to go in 2018. Their next matchup comes on Wednesday, when the Owls travel just down the road to take on Bi-Co rivals Haverford. Game time against the Fords is slated for 7:00 PM on Wednesday the 24th.