SELINSGROVE, Pa. –The Susquehanna volleyball team advanced to its sixth Landmark Conference championship match in seven years with Tuesday's 25-10, 25-14, 25-18 sweep of Scranton in front of an energetic crowd at Houts Gymnasium. The Crusaders broke a program record for season wins with 30, eclipsing last year's mark of 29.
A familiar opponent awaits Susquehanna in Saturday's finals as #10 Juniata College, winner of the last seven Landmark titles, hosts SU in a 5 p.m. match.
Against Scranton, SU led the first set 9-7 and put it out of reach with an eight-point run. The Royals never gained momentum during the set and won consecutive points only once.
The Crusaders' offense came alive in the second set as the team posted its best attack percentage of the evening (.359) behind 17 kills and only three errors on 39 attempts. Erin Byrne (San Diego, Calif./Scripps Ranch) totaled five of her 11 kills in the set while Marykate Sherkness (Treskow, Pa./Marian Catholic) added four in the set and nine for the match.
Susquehanna raced out to an early lead in the third game by winning five consecutive points and eight of the first 10. Scranton answered with a run of its own but was only able to decrease its deficit to five before SU pulled ahead, 23-14. The Royals made a brief comeback with a four-point run but a kill by Leana Carvin (Walnutport, Pa /Northampton Area) and a block from Byrne ended the set and match in favor of SU.
The Crusaders put on an impressive defensive performance with 54 digs and were able to limit Scranton's Julia Crilly, the Landmark leader in kills, to a .000 hitting percentage with eight kills and eight errors in 39 attempts.
Hayley Dunkel (Pottsville, Pa./Pottsville Area) tallied eight kills and two blocks and Carvin chipped in two solo blocks and three service aces. Maggie O'Hearn (Mountville, Pa./Hempfield) was back to business as she handed out 32 assists to go with five kills and eight digs.
Sarah Paluck (Nesquehoning, Pa./Tamaqua Area) had a match-high 14 digs and Corinne Eidle (Reading, Pa./Wyomissing Area) added eight.
SU will travel to Hungtingdon, Pa. on Saturday, Nov. 8 for the championship match at Juniata. Details regarding live stats and video forthcoming.