NEWARK, DEL. (September 13, 2013)—Freshman Sarah Krufka (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) led the match with 16 kills as the Sacred Heart women's volleyball team dropped the first match of the Delaware Invitational 3-1 to Furman University. With the loss, the Pioneers fall to 4-3 on the season.
Sacred Heart took an early 4-1 lead in the first set, but the Paladins quickly tied the score at four. The score knotted nine more times, up to 14 all, before Furman combined a SHU attack error and a service ace for a two-point lead. They held on tight to the lead before Jo Wilks' service run boosted the Paladins to a 23-18 lead. Two kills by Ashton Gregory finished off the set 25-20. Krufka and senior Dianis Mercado (Vega Baja, Puerto Rico) led the Pioneers with four kills a piece.
After dropping the first couple points, Kiki Robinson's (Bakersfield, Calif.) six-point service run boosted Sacred Heart to a quick 7-3 lead in the second set, which solidified the win for SHU. The teams traded points throughout the set, but the run by Robinson, who totaled 13 assists in the set, made all the difference as Sacred Heart took the set 25-18 to tie the match. Sophomore Allison Riggs (Anaheim, Calif.) posted a .667 hitting percentage leading the set with four kills on six attempts with no errors. SHU's other middle Jene Lee (San Dimas, Calif.) also posted an errorless set hitting .750 with three kills on four attempts.
Both teams came out of the break fighting hard for the second set as the score tied on 10 occasions and the lead switched sides four times. The teams exchanged points all the way up to a 21-21 tie before a Sacred Heart hitting error sparked a three-point Furman run, which game the Paladins enough of a boost to win the set 25-22. Krufka once again led the set with six kills. The rookie outside hitter posted a .500 hitting percentage for a set best.
Furman dominated the final set, jumping out to a 4-0 lead and never looking back. The Pioneers offense never seemed to get into a groove in the fourth set only hitting .128 collectively. Nonetheless, Mercado still led the set tallying five kills, while Robinson racked up a .406 assist percentage with 13 assists.
Sacred Heart will face host-school Delaware at 1:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to wrap up the Delaware Invitational.