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Mid-Atlantic Christian women's volleyball swept by Christendom College

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Mid-Atlantic Christian's Sarita Smith (2) and Brealle White (4) during the women's volleyball match against Christendom College, Saturday September 21, 2019 at Chesson Gym.

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By David Gough
Sports Writer

Sunday, September 22, 2019

The Mid-Atlantic Christian women's volleyball team has had a rough go of it in their 2019 campaign.

Its winless season continued on Saturday as the Lady Mustangs were swept at home in two matches against Johnson & Wales-Charlotte in the morning and later to Christendom College.

They were defeated by Christendom 25-12, 25-12, 25-19 in the afternoon in MACU’s Chesson Gym.

“We just don’t have the consistency through a 25-point match,” MACU coach Steve Halsted said. “That’s what’s killing us right now. We can do it, but maintaining it has been the difficulty for us.”

Saturday afternoon’s third set proved to be the tightest as the Lady Mustangs (0-9) didn’t fall too far behind until late.

It was the only set where MACU held a lead beyond 1-0.

Trailing 7-5, the Lady Mustangs went on their longest run of the day with four consecutive points for their third lead of the set.

Senior Gabrielle Howlett had a kill and block in that span.

With a 10-8 advantage moments later, Howlett blocked a spike from Christendom (3-9) standout Michaela Pennefaster to continue the volley.

It turned out to be one of the match’s longest volleys, but MACU was unable to secure the point leading to the Lady Crusaders going on a four-point run to take the lead again.

The Lady Mustangs tied it up 12-12 and 13-13, but Christendom scored 12 of the last 18 points to finish off the sweep.

Despite the result, it was evident the Lady Mustangs had more fight in them in the final set than the previous two.

“I’ll have to admit I got on them a little bit because I didn’t feel like they were giving the effort they needed and got them refocused a little bit, so hopefully they played a little better ball because of that,” Halsted said.

MACU didn’t get off to a great start in the second set as it lost nine of the first 11 points.

In that span, the Lady Crusaders scored six unanswered. MACU senior Mallary Brogden had the only two points for the Lady Mustangs early with two kills.

Brogden, who finished with nine kills in the match, had four kills and an ace in the set.

“Mallary is one of our most solid players,” Halsted said. “I can depend on her to give a hundred percent every time she’s on the court. She’s really the center point of the team.”

Pennefaster was a force throughout Saturday for the Lady Crusaders.

The senior finished with 15 kills, seven of which came in the first set alone, and four blocks as she caused problems at the net for MACU all afternoon.

“She was getting up on the ball really well and when you don’t see it, the timing is much different on that from a blocking standpoint,” Halsted said.

Christendom went on two separate 5-0 runs in the first set to pull away from the Lady Mustangs.

In nine matches this season, MACU has only managed to win one set.

“It’s not a high-experienced team,” Halsted said.

Seven freshmen, two sophomores and three seniors make up the team’s roster.

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