WHITEWATER, Wis. – The Franklin volleyball team got their 2018 campaign underway on Wednesday (Aug. 31) night, with games against Wisconsin-Whitewater and Wisconsin-Platteville on day one of the UW-Whitewater Invitational.
The Grizzlies (0-2) dropped both contests on opening day, falling in three sets to host Wisconsin-Whitewater to open the day. In the night cap, Franklin fell in a heart-breaking five-set battle to the Pioneers.
Junior Kyra Harvey smashed her way to a 22-kill day, which included a team-high 16 kills in the night cap against UW-Platteville. Sophomore Kyndall Boyll finished with 20 kills on the night, highlighted by a career-best 14 kills in game two.
UW-Whitewater 3 – Franklin 0
The host Warhawks jumped out to an early 5-0 lead in the first set, but Franklin was able to close the gap with five of the next seven points to cut the deficit to a pair. It was as close as the Grizzlies would get in the opener, as Whitewater rattled off nine straight points to take command of game one on their way to a 25-14 first set win.
Game two saw the Warhaws open up a 12-6 lead early on, but the young Grizzlies would hang in there in the second set, cutting their deficit to four points late in the game. But their comeback bid was snuffed out as the Warhawks rallied to take game two, 25-21.
The final set saw the game remain close until 9-2 run midway through the game that gave the Warhawks a 19-11 lead. Both side traded points until the very end, giving Whitewater a 25-16 third set win and the match.
UW-Platteville 3 – Franklin 2
Facing a seven-point deficit early in the first set, Franklin roared back with a rally that saw them collect 11-of-15 points to tie the game at 17-17. The two teams traded lengthy rallies before heading to overtime in the first set, which saw back-to-back kills from Boyll and Sewell to close things out and seal a 29-27 opening set win.
Franklin stormed out to a 10-3 lead to open set number two, but the Pioneers would shake off the early deficit to tie the game at 24 late. The Pioneers would hold a 27-26 lead, but back-to-back kills from Harvey book-ended by a Sewell ace gave Franklin another 29-27 win and a 2-0 lead in the match.
But the Pioneers would jump out to early leads in each of the next two sets on their way to wins by scores of 25-15 and 25-17, setting up a fifth and deciding set. The two teams were dead-locked in a draw, but Platteville would take five of the final seven points to close out a 15-12 win in the final set.
Harvey and Boyll were nearly joined in double figure kill totals by Sewell and Lexie Gifford, who both had eight put-aways each. Libby Stahl paced the Franklin defense with 23 digs and was joined in double figures by Allison Thompson (13), Paul (12) and Mackenzie Waldran (10). Waldran would go on to lead the team in assists with 19 in game two.
Franklin looks to get in the win column for the first time in 2018 with two more games on Saturday to close out the UW-Platteville Invitational. The Grizzlies will face Coe College at 1:00 p.m. before closing out the weekend by taking on Minnesota-Morris at 3:00 p.m.