Tuesday, December 6

Women’s Volleyball Splits to Wrap Up Juniata Invitational

HUNTINGDON, Pa. (October 8, 2022)  – The Stevens Institute of Technology women’s volleyball team split a pair of matches Saturday to wrap up play at the Juniata Invitational.

In the opener, first-year Vivian Lisboa set down a career-high 13 kills and sophomore Cleo Shannon added 11 as the Ducks defeated Messiah in five sets (25-22, 21-25, 25-15, 24-26, 15-8).

In the nightcap, Shannon set down a team-high 10 kills, but the Ducks fell to Mary Washington in three sets (25-12, 25-21, 25-19) to close play 15-6.  
Mackenzie Feight had 11 kills to lead Messiah, who dropped their final game of the weekend to Mary Washington to fall to 14-6. Jordan Lyons had a match-high 13 kills to lead Mary Washington in the match with the Ducks. Mary Washington concluded play 15-5. The matchup with the Falcons was believed to be the first meeting between the programs, while the late afternoon matchup with the Eagles was the first between the teams since 2017. Interestingly enough, two of the three all-time meetings with Mary Washington have been hosted by Juniata.

Sophomore libero Bailey Axelrad averaged 23 digs across three matches (12 sets) and was named to the invitational’s All-Tournament Team. The New Orleans, Louisiana native’s 35 digs against Messiah set a new career-high, but also marked the most by any Duck since 2016. Axelrad moved into the conference lead with 4.80 digs per set.

For the sixth time this season, the Ducks found themselves in a five-set match. The teams split the first four sets, with Stevens claiming the first and third sets and Messiah taking the second and the fourth.

In the third set, the Ducks converted 14 kills on 32 attacks with just three errors (.344 hitting percentage) to post a decisive 25-15 score to take a 2-1 lead in the match. Stevens appeared on the verge of closing out the match in the fourth, when a double-block by junior Meg Dion and sophomore Parker Adkins brought Stevens to match point. However, Messiah reeled off eight straight points to force a deciding fifth set.

After Messiah scored two of the first three points of the set, Lisboa set down passes from first-year Gabbi Roberts and graduate student Kathleen Riegner to put the Ducks in front. Riegner followed with an ace to push the lead to two. Messiah would even the score at five, but a 9-0 run put Stevens in front for good. Junior Liz Patterson closed out the match with her seventh kill. The Ducks improved to 5-1 in five-set contests this season.

Against Mary Washington, the Ducks rebounded from a sluggish first set, finding early success in the second set with Riegner distributing the ball to Patterson, Shannon and junior Elle Maggio as the Ducks took a 6-5 lead. The Eagles reeled off four unanswered points to jump in front, but pulled within one on a Sappia ace and a Maggio kill. 

Mary Washington created a six-point cushion with a five-point run, but the resilient Ducks scored five straight points of their own to force a timeout. After the pause in play, Mary Washington scored three of the final four points to claim the set.

In the final set, a service error gave the Ducks an early lead and a 5-1 run handed the Ducks their largest lead of the match. A kill by senior Ava Smithing kept Stevens in front at 15-14, but the Eagles scored the next five points to grab a four-point advantage. Mary Washington closed out the match by scoring four of the final five points. 

Inside the Numbers

  • The Ducks held Messiah to a negative hitting percentage. It is the third time that Stevens has held an opponent to a .000 hitting percentage or lower.
  • Stevens and Messiah had the same hitting percentage in the fourth set.
  • The Ducks produced 101 digs against Messiah, the most Stevens in a match since Sept. 26, 2018 (107 vs. Vassar). The 101 digs are tied for fourth by any Middle Atlantic Conference team this season.
  • Junior Madison Sappia recorded a career-high 19 digs versus the Falcons.
  • Stevens totaled eight blocks against Messiah, while the Falcons totaled six. Lisboa matched a career high with four to lead the efforts.
  • The Ducks served up four aces against Mary Washington, one more than the Eagles. 
  • Against the Eagles, the Ducks increased their attack percentage in each set. 
  • Shannon’s two double-digit kill efforts moved her season total to 10. She leads the team with 199 kills, which ranks third in the MAC Freedom.

Unsung Hero

  • Riegner served up three aces in the win over Messiah, while also handing out a season-high 27 assists. She added an additional 14 assists against Mary Washington.

Up Next

  • Women’s volleyball heads to Madison, New Jersey on Oct. 13 to take on Drew in a non-conference matchup.
  • The teams scrimmaged on Aug. 31, but the Thursday evening contest is believed to be the first meeting between the teams in the regular season.
  • Links for live stats and video are available on StevensDucks.com.

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