The Muhlenberg volleyball team took a big first step toward a playoff berth with a 3-0 home sweep of McDaniel.
The Mules (12-9, 2-5) began the day in ninth place in the Centennial Conference standings but with the four teams directly ahead of them (including McDaniel) remaining on their schedule. Up next for Muhlenberg is its home finale against sixth-place Washington College next Saturday.
Offense was the story against the Green Terror (10-9, 1-5), with the Mules hitting .351 as a team, including .500 in the second set. Freshman Jenny Ryan ran the offense, recording 34 assists, distributing the passes to a balanced attack led by junior Esmae Oehler (13 kills, .393 hitting), sophomore Christina Marcin (12 kills, .360 hitting) and freshman Sierra Addy (11 kills, .444 hitting).
The defense did its part, holdding McDaniel to .175 hitting overall and negative hitting in the second set. Senior Alyssa Faville recorded a match-high 16 digs, while Marcin added 8 and senior Julia Ficon hipped in with 7.
The first set was the most competitive of the three, with the teams swapping the lead seven times. Muhlenberg finally prevailed, 26-24, on a kill by junior Rachel Jacobs for set point.
Muhlenberg trailedd 3-1 early in the second set before scoring six straight points behind the serving of Ficon (pictured above) to take the lead for good en route to a 25-11 win.
A 8-1 run in the third set turned a 12-all tie into a commanding 20-13 lead, and the Mules completed the sweep with a 25-18 victory.