Bielich
CUP

CALIFORNIA, Pa. -- California (Pa.) claimed a 3-0 sweep (25-14, 25-16, 25-11) against Saint Augustine's on Thursday night in the first round of the NCAA tournament. With the win, the Vulcans improve to 32-4 overall and extend their winning streak to 12 matches. 

Junior Bridget Bielich led the team with 10 kills on 15 attempts for a .667 hitting percentage. Junior Brandy Harris finished with seven kills, while classmate Kelly Fromknecht added six kills in the win. Junior middle hitter Meghan Franz tallied five kills and a career-high five service aces against the Falcons.

Sophomore Abbey Freund and senior Kortney Eshleman combined to direct the offense with 31 assists on Thursday. Senior libero Sara McMullen finished with a match-high 15 digs, while Harris added 12 digs in the victory.

Early in the first set, the Vulcans mounted a 6-0 run with Franz serving to take a 7-2 lead. After the teams traded points, California (Pa.) went on a 9-3 rally to increase its lead to 18-9 after Saint Augustine's committed four attack errors. The Vulcans later closed the set on a 3-0 run to win the first set 25-14 behind a combined nine kills by Bielich and sophomore Molly Delaney.

In the second set, California (Pa.) led 6-3 before Saint Augustine's posted an 8-2 rally to claim an 11-9 lead. With the score tied at 13-13, the Vulcans closed the set on a decisive 12-3 run with Eshleman serving the last seven points, including three service aces. Franz and Harris both tallied four kills in the set, while Fromknecht added three kills.

Leading 8-5 in the third set, the Vulcans mounted a 13-4 rally that featured a 6-0 run with four kills by senior Katya Kopanarova to take a 22-9 lead. California (Pa.) later sealed the match with a service ace by McMullen. Bielich also posted five kills in the third set.

With the loss, the Falcons, who won the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Tournament, finish the season at 17-18.