FRANKLIN, Ind. – The Franklin volleyball team faced an important test on Friday (Sept. 27) night, opening conference play as part of a home tri-match.
In the opening contest, the Grizzlies (11-7, 1-0 HCAC) fell behind conference foe Manchester (6-8, 0-1 HCAC) by two sets before rallying back to take the game in five sets. That momentum carried over into the night session as the Grizzlies made quick work of Capital University (8-12), besting the Crusaders in straight sets.
Franklin 3 – Manchester 2
The Spartans pulled away late in each of the first two sets, opening a 2-0 lead with wins by counts of 25-18 and 28-26. Early in the third set, Franklin ripped off an 11-3 run to open a sizable lead. The Grizzlies had to hold off a late charge by the Spartans but were able to stay alive with a 25-21 win.
Game four was a tightly-contested set from the open before Manchester opened up an 18-15 lead. Franklin turned up the pressure on both sides of the ball, recording four kills and forcing five Spartan attack errors down the stretch to take a 25-20 win and push the game to a deciding set.
Manchester dominated the start of the final set, rushing out to a 9-3 lead on the strength of a strong attack. But just as they had done in the previous two sets, the Grizzlies showed no quit, taking 10 of the next 11 points for a 13-10 lead. The Spartans rallied to get back within a point, but an attacking effort spelled the end of the comeback, giving Franklin a 15-13 win.
Timber Falin racked up a team-high 14 kills while Abby Sewell and Kyndall Boyll chipped in with 11 each. Savanna VanHoy handed out a season-high 22 assists while Allison Thompson matched that number in the digs category. The Grizzlies put on a clinic at the front of the net, recording a season-high 13 blocks. Falin led the team in rejections, recording one solo block and eight assisted blocks.
Franklin 3 – Capital 0
The Grizzlies and Crusaders were locked in a 15-15 tie in the opening set before Franklin closed out the game with a 10-5 run. The Grizzlies came ready to go offensively, racking up a .379 hitting percentage in their 25-20 win. Game two mirrored the opener and late in the set, the Grizzlies were clinging to a 17-16 lead. That was as close as the Crusaders got the rest of the way, with Franklin closing out the set with an 8-2 run to earn a 25-18 win and a two-game lead.
The final set featured an offensive clinic from the Franklin attack, as the Grizzlies hit .469 as a club with 16 kills to just one error against. Grace Laker and Jenna Spini put the finishing touches on the sweep with back-to-back kills, locking up a 25-14 game three win.
Kyra Harvey was dominant on the attack for Franklin, putting down 13 kills without an error for a .448 hitting percentage. Mackenzie Waldran handed out 16 assists and dug up 13 balls to lead the team in both categories. As a team, the Grizzlies hit .333 to in their second win of the year over the Crusaders.
Franklin wraps up their homestand on Wednesday (Oct. 2) night, welcoming Ancilla College to the Spurlock Center. First serve is set for 7:00 p.m.