Mustangs Sweep Messiah in MAC Commonwealth Opener

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – Stevenson University swept Messiah College 3-0 in MAC Commonwealth women's volleyball Wednesday night at Owings Mills Gymnasium. The Mustangs prevailed 25-17, 25-17, 25-13.

Stevenson (5-0, 1-0 MAC Commonwealth) won its 41st straight MAC Commonwealth match and is 41-0 all-time in league play.  The Mustangs and Messiah (1-3, 0-1 MAC Commonwealth) have met in each of the last five conference title games, with Stevenson prevailing in all five.  Stevenson has also won 10 straight at home and 23 of its last 24 at Owings Mills Gymnasium.

Senior Annika Schwartz led Stevenson with 12 kills, hitting .423, while also contributing five digs and a pair of blocks.  Junior Moriah Savage tallied seven kills and five digs, with junior Lauren Jan hitting .545 and adding six kills.  Defensively, senior Deanna Bradbury racked up 15 digs.  Sophomore Caroline Dangel dished out 22 assists and registered five service aces, with sophomore Julie Nightwine adding nine helpers.

Messiah was led by Braedyn Gallagher's nine kills, while Jennifer Rusling finished with 22 assists.

The first set was tied 14-14 before a 5-1 spurt capped by a Messiah attack error gave the Mustangs a 19-16 lead.  The Falcons got the next point before the hosts rattled off the final six points of the set and back-to-back Messiah attack errors closed out the frame.

Back-to-back kills by senior Lauren Weaver and Schwartz broke a 13-13 deadlock in the second set.  Holding a 17-15 lead, Stevenson scored five straight points and back-to-back service aces by Dangel made it a 22-15 game.  Dangel closed out the set with a kill.

The Mustangs never trailed in the third set, jumping out to an 8-2 lead and leading by as many as 13 after back-to-back Schwartz kills capped a 7-0 run and made it 20-7.

Stevenson hit .387 in the final set and .271 on the evening while holding the Falcons to .081 hitting and not hitting above .111 in any set.  As a team the Mustangs recorded 10 aces, their most in a three-set match since October 11 of last season against Albright.

Stevenson returns to action Friday when it competes against SUNY-Cortland and host Muhlenberg in day one of the Buttermaker Tournament.