BLUE BELL, Pa. - Victoria Biggins' 21 assists led the way as the Mustangs recorded a straight-set victory over Lehigh Carbon Community College in Montgomery's season opener in Region XIX volleyball action on Thursday evening.
A first-year setter, Biggins set up second-year outside hitter Courtney Gill, who delivered a team-leading eight kills. Gill also added one block, as did first-year player Hiba Elranjaoul. Other key contributors for the Mustangs included Colby Shackelford, who -- combined with Gill -- served up 14 of the team's 22 aces. First-year player Emma Hagel made 13 of the team's 31 digs.
"It's encouraging when you get play like that out of your setter," Head Coach Rita Rivera said. "It certainly helps everyone on the court."
The Mustangs were in control for much of the first set, leading by as much as 17-4 before closing out the 25-9 win. However, a feisty Cougars team showed tremendous resiliency in the second set, jumping out to a 4-1 lead in a game that featured a number of great volleys by both teams. Montgomery stormed back to take a 15-8 lead, but Lehigh Carbon closed the gap and was within five points at 22-17 before the Mustangs wrapped up a 25-17 win.
The outcome of the third set was very much in question with the teams deadlocked at 7-7. At that point Rivera used her first and only timeout of the match. The words of inspiration worked in a big way as the Mustangs outscored the Cougars, 18-2, to take the set, 25-9. Keying the team's effort was Shackelford, the second-year outside hitter and lone returning player from last year's team. She was in the zone with her serve and Montgomery cruised to the win.
"It was a good start," Rivera said. "But there's plenty of room for improvement."
With four matches in five days next week, Rivera's team must ramp up its preparations for a schedule that includes Division II foes Lackawanna College and Harcum College, and Division III rivals Bucks County Community College and Valley Forge Military College.
The Mustangs first host Lackawanna College on Tuesday at 6 pm in the gymnasium of the Physical Education Building.
- By Bob Kent, Sports Information Director