Mount Union hangs on for win
Purple Raiders victorious in five-set battle with Lebanon Valley
ASTON, Pa. -- Lebanon Valley rallied back from two sets down to force a fifth, but lost to Mount Union 15-13 in the fifth set in the NCAA Tournament First Round at Neumann University.
The Commonwealth Conference-champion Flying Dutchmen (22-10) were playing in their fourth consecutive NCAA tournament, and playing the OAC-champion Purple Raiders (25-7) for the second time after a 3-1 loss in 2009.
Taylor Webb led the Purple Raiders with 18 kills. Nicole Snyder had a double-double, pitching in 12 kills and 10 digs.
LVC's seniors went out with big games, as Jamie Hawk led LVC with 15 kills and Nicole Barra had 13; Angela Kuperavage had a team-high 25 digs. Mount Union's Taylor Webb had a match-high 18 kills, and libero Lauren Mastroine led with 37 kills.
The Dutchmen were outblocked 13-5 and hit .156 to Mount Union's .245, but capitalized on 13 UMU service errors to stay in the match. Kacey Musselman drove the offense with 49 assists and 13 digs; LVC had 97 digs in the match.
Mount Union came out on fire, hitting .368 in the opening set to win 25-18, and they put LVC's backs against the wall with a 25-20 second-set victory.
But LVC's defense started to come alive, leading to a 25-21 win, and the Dutchmen controlled the fourth, hitting .286 behind six of Hawk's 15 kills to win 25-22.
The fifth set was a barnburner, with LVC leading 2-0 before Mount Union answered with a 5-1 run on the way to an 8-5 lead at the switch. But three straight Lebanon Valley points on kills by Hawk and Kayla Confer, and a bad MU set, tied it at 8-8.
Mount Union rallied for a 3-0 run of their own, taking an 11-8 lead, but kills by Kellsie Groff and Krystal Wirey tied it at 11-11 and set up a nailbiting finish. UMU's Nicole Snyder hit a kill to go up 12-11, and a bad Musselman set made it 13-11 before Taylor Webb's attack error gave LVC a glimmer of hope at 13-12 despite being out of timeouts.
A kill and a service error by Snyder set up match point at 15-13, and Webb finished it off with a kill on Wirey's block error to advance to the second round.