Maple Leaf Volleyball Fights Back For Deja-Vu Five-Set Victory

Eash, Manley and Vanitvelt combine to earn second split at Cardinal Stritch Invitational


Taylor Eash’s solo block finished the second comeback win in as many days for the Goshen College women’s volleyball team as the Maple Leafs topped Cardinal Stritch University in five sets Saturday in Wisconsin.

For the second day in a row, Goshen took the opening set, this time by a 25-15 margin behind a six-point run capped with two Meghan Manley aces. And once again, the Maple Leafs fell behind in the next two stanzas, with the host Wolves claiming 25-15 and 25-16 victories.

Neither team led by more than three points in the fourth set until back-to-back Eash winners put Goshen up 19-15, but Stritch won four of the next five points to square the set at 20. CSU and Goshen split the next six points, with kills by Jennifer Ritchie, MacKinnon Tracy and Hallie Vanitvelt all leveling the score, before Eash and Sydney Cruz combined on a block for a 24-23 Leaf lead. Vanitvelt’s winner on the next point leveled the match at two sets all.

Goshen jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the deciding set and held that advantage all the way to 14-10, earning four match points. Cardinal Stritch reeled off four points in a row to tie the score, ending with an Alyssa Downing ace to reach 14-14.

Vanitvelt fired off a kill to give Goshen its fifth match point at 15-14, and Eash’s block one rally later put Goshen officially in the win column after 112 minutes.

Eash, a Westview High School graduate, and Vanitvelt each paced the Maple Leafs with nine winners while Riley Woods added eight on 12 swings for a .583 percentage. Elizabeth Breckbill chipped in five blocks, which would have been a career high except for her seven-stuff performance against Governors State 20 hours earlier.

Ally Roehr’s 13 assists and Manley’s 11 digs both led the team.

The win over Stritch pushed Goshen back to .500 after a three-set loss to Mount Mercy University earlier in the day. Olivia Coe had 12 kills and Maddie Bell 11 for MMU, which was sparked by a 10-point run in the first set and never looked back.

The Maple Leafs got 5 kills apiece from Eash and Sydney Cruz in the opener. Elizabeth Breckbill added three blocks.

Goshen, which is 2-2, opens its home slate against Roosevelt University at 8 p.m. Tuesday in Gunden Gymnasium.