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Lafayette Now 4-1 After Pair of Five-Set Victories

Sept. 5, 2015

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Game 1 (HTML)Game 2 (HTML) 

EASTON, Pa. – A thrilling comeback from two sets down against Marist on Saturday afternoon completed a perfect 4-0 weekend for Lafayette in the Crosstown Tournament. The Leopards, who had already knocked off Morehead State in five sets (25-17, 25-20, 18-25, 23-25, 15-10) earlier in the morning, rallied past the Red Foxes for a 13-25, 12-25, 27-25, 25-18, 15-13 triumph.

The win over Marist, which had a 25-6 record last fall, was Lafayette’s first comeback from 2-0 down since a victory over St. Francis Brooklyn on Aug. 28, 2012. Jet Manzi registered double-doubles in each of today’s matches to lead the Leopards.

“Overall, I think the weekend was a huge success for us,” head coach Terri Dadio Campbell said. “I thought the level of competition was going to be a lot higher today, and it clearly was. But we really battled, and didn’t settle for losing in that last match, which is a really good thing to see within our program.”

Just as they had in last night’s match with Saint Peter’s, the Leopards were pushed to a fifth set after jumping out to a 2-0 advantage in their opener against Morehead State (2-4). Once again, however, the team was up to the challenge, as Lafayette finished with a strong .471 attack percentage in the deciding set.

Manzi had a strong performance across the board, with the junior outside hitter totaling 11 kills, 10 digs and five aces. The Leopards won eight-consecutive points on her serve during a stretch midway through the first set.

“Jet is just a really consistent all-around leader for us,” Dadio Campbell remarked. “Her serve is fantastic, and she is undersized as an outside hitter but she performs and executes so well. She’s an overachiever in the most positive sense.”

Brianne Giangiobbe, meanwhile, continued her strong weekend with a team-high 16 kills, to go along with three block assists. Maria Balus totaled 36 kills and 13 digs. She also had six kills with a .545 attack percentage, including the game-winning kill in the fifth set. Lauren Pisauro added a game-high 21 digs.

Lafayette got off to a slow start against the Red Foxes (2-4), who swept the home team when the two sides faced off in this same tournament a year ago. With a 12-7 lead in the third set after taking the first two, Marist appeared to be heading for another sweep.

The Leopards, though, won eight of the next nine points, including five straight on Balus’ serve to take a 15-13 edge. The Red Foxes responded and went back on top 21-18, but four-straight points, capped by an ace from Meghan Donohue, made it 22-21, Lafayette. An attack error sealed things for the Leopards on their third set point.

Trailing 4-0 early in the fourth set, Lafayette, took a commanding 22-14 lead midway through the frame, again earning several points with Balus serving. The Leopards had 10 aces in the match, with three apiece from Balus and Donohue, and 21 overall on the day.

Katherine Stevens used one of 12 kills in the match to clinch the fourth set, and her and Giangiobbe combined to seal the victory in the fifth. Trailing 13-12, Giangiobbe and Stevens had back-to-back kills, and the two combined for a block on the final point.

Manzi led the way overall with 16 kills and 12 digs, while Pisauro chipped in 15 digs. Giangiobbe and Manzi were each named to the All-Tournament Team for their performances over the two days.

“We played a whole new lineup against Marist with some freshmen who had hardly played all weekend,” Dadio Campbell said. “To be able to pull things together and come out with a win is a really positive sign for the future of the program.”

Lafayette returns to the court next Friday and Saturday for three matches in a tournament at Providence. The first of those matches is a rematch with Fairleigh Dickinson at 5 p.m. Friday.

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