Franciscan University of Steubenville’s volleyball team won an exciting game over Capital University in five sets on their first-ever Military Appreciation Night Friday evening. The Lady Barons defeated the Crusaders with set scores of 25-18, 20-25, 25-23, 22-25 and 15-12.
Senior captain Maria Ciola set the single-match kill record with 23 kills. Ciola is currently ranked third all-time in the record book of Franciscan University, with a total of 902 kills in her career.
The Lady Barons played a very strong first set, maintaining the upper hand for the majority of the set. Both teams were neck-and-neck, but the Lady Barons stayed one to two points ahead, ending the set 25-18.
Franciscan volleyball fought hard in the second match. Capital pulled ahead, reaching its largest lead of the match, six points ahead of the Lady Barons. A kill from the Crusaders ended the second set 25-20 and evened the match to 1-1.
Neither team took more than a seven-point lead in the third and fourth matches. The tension rose as Franciscan won the third 25-23 and Capital won the fourth 25-22, leaving the fifth set to determine the outcome of the game.
The fifth and final set featured no less than five different ties. The crowd went wild as Franciscan won the set by three points, 15-12.
During a 10-minute break between the second and third sets, the Lady Barons recognized the veterans present at the game and presented them with T-shirts. Head Coach Kelly Herrmann invited them onto the court and praised them for their sacrifice, their discipline and the challenges they had overcome.
Herrmann told the onlookers that she intends Military Appreciation Night to become an annual event and that she hoped the number of veterans present would increase every year. Military Appreciation Night served as “a simple thank you” to the veterans, said Herrmann.
Herrmann also added, “Our defense struggled to adjust at times but really moved in the 5th game when it mattered most … I would just say that I am so proud of how the women managed the match and their emotions! They do a great job of focusing on the next point and helping one another.”
For their next home match, the Lady Barons will take on conference opponent Hilbert College on Saturday, Oct. 27 at 1 p.m. in the team’s last game of the season.