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Defense Propels Volleyball To Win At Holy Cross



WORCESTER, Mass. – Loyola University Maryland had 64 digs and 10 total blocks Friday night, and the Greyhounds won their first Patriot League match of the season, 25-23, 17-25, 29-27, 25-17 at College of the Holy Cross.

Four Loyola players had 10 or more kills, and two players were in on five or more blocks. Erin Cunningham led all players in the match with 18 digs, while Corri Waters posted a season- and match-best six total blocks.

Ann Ernst and Zoe Pawlak each had double-doubles in kills and digs for Loyola. Ernst went for 18 kills and 10 digs, while Pawlak logged 10 and 11. Haley Puddy put away a season-high 12 kills, while hitting .391. Alisah Cash added five total blocks.

Loyola’s setting tandem of Megan Mondon and Molly Werts combined for 47 of the Greyhounds’ 49 assists. Mondon posted 27, while Werts had 20 and 10 digs.

The teams traded set wins in the opening two frames, and the momentum of the match hung in the balance late in the third. Loyola led the set 22-20 after an attack error by the Crusaders (4-12 overall, 0-3 Patriot League), but Holy Cross scored the next two points, forcing a Loyola timeout.

Loyola (4-10, 1-2) and the Crusaders went point-for-point for the next six points before Holy Cross had its first set-point at 25-24 after a Loyola attack error. Out of a Greyhounds’ timeout, Cash put away a solo block on a Luisa Soares attack attempt, tying the score at 25-25.

Pawlak put away a kill to give Loyola a set-point, but a service error tied the set again, this time at 26-26. Ernst logged a kill on a Holy Cross blocking error, and Loyola was again up by one. This time, Soares made good on an attempt, scoring for holy Cross to knot the score for the 17th time in the third set.

Soares’ next attempt went long, and Loyola had its fourth set-point opportunity. This time, the Greyhounds cashed in as the beneficiaries of another Soares attack error, taking a 2-1 lead in the match.

Tied at 7-7 in the fourth set, Loyola scored 15 of the next 22 points to lead 22-14 on a Mondon service ace. Holy Cross’ Mandy Sifferlen and Lynsey Petersen had kills on the next two points, drawing the Crusaders within six, but Puddy and Ernst had kills for Loyola, giving the Greyhounds a 24-16 lead. Puddy had five kills on just seven attempts in the fourth set.

Sifferlen, the Patriot League’s leader in kills per set, had one more kill for the Crusaders before Ernst ended the match with her 18th kill. Sifferlen led all players with 19 kills.

Loyola continues its road trip Saturday, Oct. 1, with a 4 p.m. match at the U.S. Military Academy.