AU volleyball outlasts Lafayette in Patriot League semis, advances to finals

The Eagles win in four sets and seek to capture a 17th Patriot League title

AU volleyball outlasts Lafayette in Patriot League semis, advances to finals

Fourth-seeded American University stormed back from a 1-0 deficit and won three straight sets to defeat second-seeded Lafayette in the Patriot League women’s volleyball semifinal match and advance to the Patriot League final. 

Junior Zeynep Uzen and senior Carlie Fikse, AU’s two All-Patriot League players, recorded 28 and 15 kills, and at times could not seem to hit anything but open floor. Uzen also posted 11 digs to record yet another double-double, her 14th of the season. 

The Eagles fought hard through the challenge of Lafayette’s Abby Nieporte, whose stat line of 13 kills fails to tell the story of her powerful hitting prowess. 

AU came into the match following a come-from-behind win against Loyola University Maryland, while Lafayette rode their second-seeded placement to a bye in the quarterfinal round. The last time the two teams matched up was on Oct. 30, a game AU also won 3-1

Though the Eagles struggled throughout the first set, giving up too many easy points off of errors, they outmatched the Leopards through the next three sets.

The beginning of the first set featured lots of back-and-forth lead changes early on, but once Lafayette pulled ahead, they never looked back. Despite graduate student Chiara Bosetti’s huge dig immediately followed by a block from sophomore Katie Putney, a combination of awkward hits and net touches buried the Eagles as Lafayette took the first set 25-19.

Though Lafayette started the second set strong and led by as many as five, a strong AU comeback led by freshman Bridget Javitch’s two consecutive service aces eventually led the Eagles to a 24-23 lead. Javitch’s third service ace iced the set, and AU narrowly avoided falling into a 2-0 deficit by taking the second set 25-23.

The third set was the biggest nail-biter of the match, and Lafayette came back from an early AU lead to hang on for the rest of the set, all the way into extra points. However, the Eagles blew past the Leopards, and behind a handful of monster kills from Fikse, the Eagles sealed off the third set 28-26.

Riding the momentum of two consecutive set victories, AU made quick work of the Leopards and took the fourth set 25-18 off an Uzen kill to advance to the Patriot League final. 

AU has won 16 of the last 20 Patriot League titles and looked to add a 17th banner to the rafters of Bender Arena versus fourth-seeded Colgate on Sunday, but fell short in four sets.

sports@theeagleonline.com 

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