FRANKLIN, Ind. – The Franklin volleyball team rallied from a 2-1 deficit to earn a comeback win over Defiance College on Tuesday (Sept. 25) night in their first HCAC contest inside the Spurlock Center.
The Grizzlies (6-9, 1-1 HCAC) jumped out to an early lead, but struggled in the second and third games while the Yellow Jackets (2-12, 0-1 HCAC) surged ahead. Franklin gutted out a win in set four before coasting to a victory in the deciding set, moving their record to a perfect 3-0 at home in 2018.
The two sides were neck-and-neck midway through the opening set before the Grizzlies 12 of the final 15 points to run away with a 25-15 win. The Grizzlies hit .208 in the opening set and recorded 10 of those 12 points down the stretch via service aces or Yellow Jacket attack errors.
The tides turned in the second and third sets, as the hosts took the next two games by scores of 25-20 and 25-13. Defiance recorded 14 kills in both sets and hit over .225 in each frame while the Franklin offense struggled to get into a rhythm.
Facing a 22-20 deficit late in the fourth set, the Grizzlies dug in to take five of the final six points to earn a 25-23 comeback win. The win was punctuated by a thunderous kill from Abigail Sewell to even things up, giving her 12 on the night at that point.
With momentum firmly in their corner, the Grizzlies jumped out to an early 5-1 lead in game five, eventually closing out the Yellow Jackets with a 15-9 win in the final set. The Franklin offense racked up 10 points in the set on kills, recording a .389 attacking percentage in the deciding game.
Sewell was a force at the front of the net on Tuesday night, leading the Grizzlies with a season-high 15 kills, a .464 hitting percentage and adding four blocks on the night. She was joined in double figure kills by Kyra Harvey, who put away 12 on the night. Maria Hasnerl finished with a season-high nine kills and hit .226 overall.
The back line was led by senior Libby Stahl, whose 20 digs led all players. She had help defensively, with Allison Thompson (15 digs), Kylie Paul (12 digs) and Mackenzie Waldran (11 digs) all hitting double figures in digs.
Waldran was the lone Grizzly to finish with a double-double, handing out a team-high 41 assists on the night. Hasnerl and Timber Falin had three aces each and Jenna Spini matched Sewell for the most blocks on the team with four rejections.
The Grizzlies get back at it on Wednesday (Sept. 26) night, heading to Greencastle, Ind. for a non-conference meeting with DePauw. First serve is set for 7:00 p.m.