RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Felician University women's volleyball team added to its history on Saturday despite its 3-0 (25-16, 25-21, 25-20) Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference loss to visiting Georgian Court University at Job Gymnasium.
Combined with other conference results, the setback still left Felician (14-16, 12-5 CACC) with a two-game lead over both Bloomfield College (14-10, 10-7) and Caldwell University (12-17, 10-7) for first place in the CACC North Division. All three schools have just two conference matches remaining, securing at least a share of the regular-season division championship for the Golden Falcons. It is the first such title in the 16-year history of the Felician program.
Furthermore, since Felician has already defeated Bloomfield twice this season, the Golden Falcons can finish with no lower than the North's No. 2 seed. With that development, for the first time ever, Felician will host a playoff match. Job Gym will be the site of a quarterfinal contest on Tuesday, November 19, at 6 p.m. with opponent to be determined.
Felician sophomore libero Sierra Gallagher (Honolulu, Hawaii/Kamehameha) totaled 10 digs and four assists on Saturday. The dig total pushed her 2019 tally to 548, eclipsing the Felician record mark of 545 set by Erica Moore in 2007. They are the only two Golden Falcons to ever dig more than 500 balls in a season.
The Golden Falcons also celebrated Senior Day on Saturday. Felician Vice President of Administration Fran Andrea was on hand to help honor seniors Raamiah Edwards (Bloomfield, N.J./Bloomfield), Charlotte Greek (Menifee, Calif./Murrieta Mesa) and Kali Vodrazka (Bayonne, N.J./Bayonne) in a pre-match ceremony.
Once the teams got into action, however, it was the visiting Lions that used their defense to capture the momentum. Georgian Court, the No. 7-ranked team in the NCAA Division II East Region, amassed advantages of 50-36 in digs and 10-8 in blocks while holding the hosts to a .056 team attack percentage.
GCU (25-6, 14-3) never trailed in Set 1. The Lions extended an 11-10 lead to 19-13 and continued to pull away, forcing Felician into more errors than kills. The match, however, turned on a second set during which the Golden Falcons led by as many as four points, 17-13. Still ahead, 21-19, Felician yielded the next six rallies to the Lions and fell behind, two sets to none.
Felician sliced an 8-3 third-set deficit to 12-11, but never fully recovered. Ahead 18-17, the Lions scored the next three points on a kill by Kinsy Haschke (Mont Belvieu, Texas/Mont Belvieu), a Golden Falcon error and a Jamie Sweeney (Toms River, N.J./Toms River East) ace. It was the opening the Lions needed to secure the three-set victory.
Haschke led all players with 17 kills and GCU senior libero Emily McCurley (Monument, Colo./Lewis-Palmer) finished with 22 digs. Felician received 11 kills from sophomore Maddie Sloan (Caldwell, N.J./James Caldwell) while freshman Miquela Martinez (Santa Fe, N.M./St. Michael's) turned in 18 assists and 11 digs.
Felician entertains Caldwell on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Rutherford needing a victory to wrap up the outright North Division title and the top seed from the North in the league tournament.