WEST CHESTER, Pa. – The Philadelphia University women's volleyball team got its 2016 season off to a positive start with two victories on the opening day of the West Chester University Ram Fest Friday in Hollinger Field House. The Rams earned 3-1 wins over West Virginia Wesleyan and Millersville.
Corinne Justus (Allentown, Pa./Emmaus) led the Rams offense with 24 kills while hitting .437 across the two matches. In her first action in a Philadelphia uniform, Amber Johnson (Hanover, Pa./Delone Catholic) racked up 24 kills and hit .390. Mariah Cadzow (Mountville, Pa./Hempfield) added 24 kills and a team-high 33 digs in her Ram debut.
In the opener against West Virginia Wesleyan, the Rams and Bobcats spilt the first two sets with Philadelphia winning the first set 25-18 and West Virginia Wesleyan taking the second 25-23. After the set two loss, Philadelphia rebounded to win the final two sets 25-17 and 25-17.
Courtney Wensel (Bechtelsville, Pa./Berks Catholic) recorded 14 kills, 15 digs, and three service aces to pace the Rams. Johnson added 13 kills and two solo blocks, while Justus contributed 11 kills.
Alexandra Harrington (St. Leonard, Md./Huntingtown) tallied 45 assists and Cadzow was the defensive leader with 18 digs.
The Rams broke a 17-all set-one tie with four straight points, including two Wensel service aces. After the Bobcats got one point back to make the score 21-18, the Rams closed out the set with a 4-0 run.
In set two, the Bobcats overcame a 23-22 deficit with three straight points to even the match.
A 14-5 run, which included eight West Virginia Wesleyan errors, propelled Philadelphia to a 10-10 lead and an easy set three win. With the Rams up 14-13 in the fourth, Philadelphia would score 11 of the final 15 points to end the match.
In the nightcap, Philadelphia dropped the opener 25-21, but rebounded nicely to claim the next three sets 25-22, 25-19, and 25-19.
Cadzow was the star for the Rams as she posted 16 kills, while hitting .483, and 15 digs. Justus had 13 kills and Johnson added 11. Harrington put up a career-high 46 assists.
Philadelphia managed to erase an 11-6 set one deficit with a 7-1 surge, capped by a Millersville attack error to put the Rams ahead 13-12. The Rams were up 18-17 when the Marauders Erin Harman recorded back-to-back to spark a set-ending 8-3 run.
The Rams looked to run away with the second set thanks to a 7-3 spurt that allowed them to go up 16-10. Millersville came back to trim the gap to 21-20 on a Renee Drawbaugh ace. A Justus kill would not only stop the Marauder momentum, but started a 4-1 run that tied things up.
Philadelphia broke open the third set with a 9-3 run, that included kills from five different Rams, to move ahead by seven (20-13). The Rams pulled away late in the final set, ending the match with a 7-2 run that was capped off by consecutive Cadzow kills.
Philadelphia returns to West Chester for the second day of the Ram Fest on Saturday, Sept. 3. The Rams will face Daemen at noon and host West Chester at 4 p.m.