First-Place Rams Turn Back Felician, 3-0

(Photo by Steven R. Smith)
(Photo by Steven R. Smith)

PHILADELPHIA – The Jefferson Rams (formerly Philadelphia University) put down 44 kills and added 11 service aces in their 3-0 (25-18, 25-13, 25-20) Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference women's volleyball victory over visiting Felician University on Saturday afternoon at the Gallagher Center. Jefferson, the first-place team in the CACC South Division, has won 10 of its last 11 matches.

Felician had a difficult time containing 2016 all-region selection Courtney Wensel (Bechtelsville, Pa.). The Ram junior outside hitter posted match highs of 14 kills, 20 digs and three aces. Junior outside hitter Paulina Calero (El Centro, Calif.) led the Golden Falcons (2-12, 1-8 CACC) with nine kills and added 11 digs.

The opening set contained five ties and four lead changes in the early-going. A kill by Ram senior Corinne Justus (Allentown, Pa.) touched off a 5-0 run that gave her team the lead for good, turning a 7-5 deficit into a three-point edge. After the Golden Falcons pulled to within 10-9, a Justus kill was the prelude to three in a row by Wensel. A ace from Justus put Jefferson ahead 15-10 and led to a Felician timeout.

Kills by Calero and Charlotte Greek (Menifee, Calif.) allowed Felician to crawl back within 16-13. But the visitors became sloppy, allowing the Rams to roll off six consecutive points, including four on Felician attack errors. The Golden Falcons saved three set points before succumbing.

Felician never held a lead for the rest of the day. The Rams led, 6-1 in Set 2. Ahead, 9-5, Jefferson captured 12 of the ensuing 13 rallies to pull away. Its largest advantage came at 22-9.

Jefferson seized the momentum and won the first four points of Set 3. With her team ahead, 9-7, Wensel put down back-to-back kills, and the Rams also won the next three rallies for a seven-point bulge. Later, a Wensel kill restored that same margin, 21-14, and caused a Felician timeout. Trailing 23-15, the Golden Falcons put together five points in a row, but after the sides traded service errors, Jefferson freshman Logan Dontell (Red Lion, Pa.) ended the match with her eighth kill of the afternoon.

Dontell hit .438 and also had six digs and four blocks. Justus ended with eight kills, eight digs and three aces, and junior setter Alexandra Harrington (St. Leonard, Md.) accumulated 28 assists and eight digs for the Rams (13-6, 8-1).

For Felician, Greek hit .429 and amassed four kills, 15 assists and nine digs. Sophomore libero Lauren Mack (Valparaiso, Ind.) concluded the day with a team-high 15 digs.

The Golden Falcons play their next three matches at home. They entertain Nyack College in CACC action on Wednesday in Rutherford.