Volleyball Takes it to Five, Falls Short Against Franciscan

Pictured: Jessica Gavlak (photo credit: Joe Maiorana, Impact Action Sports Photography)
Pictured: Jessica Gavlak (photo credit: Joe Maiorana, Impact Action Sports Photography)

By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio – For the second time in as many matches the Capital University volleyball team took its opponent five sets but fell in the tiebreaking game. The Crusaders traveled to Steubenville to take on the Barons of Franciscan University, but despite putting up some of its highest offensive numbers of the season Capital was unable to pull out the victory in a 3-2 (25-18, 20-25, 25-23, 22-25, 15-12) road loss.

Capital struggled in its first set loss, going just 7-for-33 with seven errors. However, the Crusaders turned it around with three consecutive sets in which they hit .300 or better. CU committed just two errors in the second set and was led by freshman Olivia Hale (Enon, Ohio/Greenon) who put down four kills on eight attempts. Sophomore Leighann Osborne (Canal Winchester, Ohio/Canal Winchester) used the second set to string together the beginnings of a standout day. In the second, she put down three kills and seven of her team-high 21 digs. That fed into a 25-20 win to tie up the match.

With the score 1-1, Capital had a chance to jump ahead in the third when it jumped ahead by five points late in the set. That lead thinned to 23-20 with Cap still in good position to take the lead, but the Barons used kills from three different plays plus two CU errors to come from behind and steal the set and the lead.

The Crusaders rallied to force a fifth set and did so by going on a 7-3 run to end the set. Junior Kirsten Jutte (Fort Recovery, Ohio/Fort Recovery) and Jessica Gavlak (Sheffield Village, Ohio/Lutheran West) each threw down four kills in the process with Osborne chipping in another seven digs.

The momentum was with CU heading into the halfway point of the fifth set. Hale and Gavlak helped Cap build a three-point lead, 8-5, before swapping sides. But with switching ends of the court, so too did the moment. Franciscan used a pair of blocks to help turn the tide of the fifth set and then a pair of Capital attack errors sealed the comeback for the Barons as they sealed their victory with a 15-12 fifth-set win.

Gavlak set a new career high with 15 kills on the evening, surpassing her previous best (11) set last year versus Chatham. The sophomore was one of four Capital players to have 10 or more kills. Joining her was Osborne (14), Hale (12) and Jutte (12). Three of those players recorded a double-double when figuring in their dig counts: Jutte (11), Hale (12) and Osborne (21). Osborne's 21 digs is a career high.

Freshman setter Jenay Kocsis (Marysville, Ohio/Fairbanks) went well over of her previous best after shelling out 54 assists on the evening.

Franciscan (3-18 overall) was paced by Maria Ciola's team-high 23 kills and 19 digs, and was one of five with double-digit dig counts.

Capital (0-20 overall) will jump right back into action when it plays the University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio on Saturday, October 13 at 1 p.m. inside the MAAC.