POTSDAM, N.Y. – The 25th-ranked Wesleyan volleyball team dropped a thrilling five-set match to Ithaca in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Division III Championship on Saturday. The Cardinals lost by scores of 25-22, 19-25, 22-25, 25-18, and 15-9. At the conclusion of the regional, Kaira Muraoka-Robertson was named one of seven athletes to the Potsdam Regional All-Tournament Team.
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Wesleyan's impressive season comes to an end with a 21-5 record. It marks the third straight year the Cardinals won 20 or more matches, while the five losses are their fewest in program history. Wesleyan's senior class of Gabby Bennett, Nicole Hilton, Mia Hogan, Sophie Karolczak, Stasie Litinsky, Olivia Guidotti, Kaira Muraoka-Robertson, and assistant coach Fallon Konow is the winningest class in program history as they conclude their careers with a 78-25 (.780) overall record and a 32-8 (.800) NESCAC mark. This class helped Wesleyan reach the NCAA Tournament three straight times, win three straight Little Three titles, win a NESCAC Championship, and reach the NCAA Elite Eight for the first time in school history.
Ithaca was led by Reagan Stone who totaled 25 kills as the Bombers improved to 20-10. They will play in the Potsdam Regional final tomorrow against the winner of Clarkson and Wellesley.
- The first set went back-and-forth often. Trailing 11-10, Wesleyan went on a 9-1 run to take the lead for good. The Bombers cut the deficit to two, 23-21, but a kill from Stasie Litinsky and a service error by Ithaca sealed the win for the Cardinals.
- Ithaca came out strong in the second and scored the first five points of the set. The Bombers held a lead the entire way and closed it out with three-straight, including two kills from Stone, to even the match at 1-1.
- Wesleyan opened the third with a 3-0 run. Shortly after, the Bombers used a 7-2 stretch to go ahead 12-10. They led the rest of the way en route to the victory.
- Down 2-1 in the match, the Cardinals rallied nicely in the fourth. They scored the first point and never trailed. They scored four of the final five points to win by seven, 25-18, forcing a decisive fifth set.
- Wesleyan held a 5-4 lead but Ithaca went on a 6-0 run to pull ahead. It proved to be the difference as the Bombers closed out the match with three straight points to win, 15-9.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Bella Ahearn led the Cardinals with 13 kills while Hogan and Chloe Mauceri totaled 11 each and Hilton added 10. Mauceri posted a team-best .304 hitting percentage. Muraoka-Robertson dished out 49 assists and totaled 11 digs, while Phia Bellizzi led the defense with 18 digs. Bennett recorded eight kills and four blocks and Hilton totaled three blocks.
- Stone was joined in double-digit kills by Jennifer Pitts, Alison Lipton, and Camryn O'Leary. Pitts totaled 15 kills with a .400 attack clip while Lipton and O'Leary each recorded 11 kills. Jordyn Lyn Hayashi totaled 15 digs and Caitlyn Ford and Hannah Hughes registered 10 each. Floyd added five blocks while Katie Basey and Pitts led all players with six each.