Volleyball Splits Season-Opening Tournament Matches

HAMDEN, Conn. – The Quinnipiac University volleyball team split its first two matches of 2008 Friday, defeating Morgan State, 3-1, after falling to Fordham, 3-2, in the season-opening Quinnipiac Invitational. Freshman Alyssa Naylor (San Diego, Calif.) achieved double-digits in kills in both matches, while freshman setter Kayla Lawler (Richmond, Ind.) totaled 73 assists on the day, including a double-double of 39 assists and 11 digs against Fordham. The win snaps a 25-match losing streak dating back to Sept. 7, 2007, when the Bobcats defeated Rider, 3-0.

"It was a great way to start our season," said Head Coach Robin Sparks. "We played hard all day. I think the team really set a great tone to start the season. I thought the way we battled back against Fordham showed a lot of character. Our seniors demonstrated real leadership all day long."

Senior Jenna Benigno (Milford, Conn.) totaled 20 kills on the day, including a near-miss of a double-double in the Fordham match (nine kills, 14 digs). Freshman Stephanie Biediger (Houston, Texas) had nine kills against Fordham and added 10 against Morgan State. Naylor hit .500 in the Morgan State match after hitting .333 against Fordham. Senior Crista Valentino (Oakdale, N.Y.) chipped in with 11 digs against Fordham.

After the Bobcats dropped the first set to Morgan State, 25-17, they won the last three sets, 25-21, 25-19 and 25-19.

In the Fordham match, Quinnipiac, featuring five freshmen in the starting rotation, defeated the Rams, 25-22, in the first set. They went on to lose the second and third sets, 25-18 and 25-10, before showing great resiliency in taking the fourth set, 27-25. Ultimately, the Rams took the fifth set, 15-13.

The Bobcats return to action Saturday, when Quinnipiac Invitational action continues against Rhode Island (2 p.m.) and Towson (7 p.m.). Other tournament matches include Fordham against Rhode Island (9 a.m.), Towson vs. Morgan State (11:30 a.m.) and Morgan State vs. Fordham (7 p.m.). Admission to all matches is free of charge.