TOWSON, Md. — Goucher survived this afternoon's play-in match against the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, earning the right to play third-seeded Catholic in the quarterfinals of the Landmark Conference's postseason tournament.
The Gophers defeated the Mariners, 3-0. Set scores were 25-10, 25-15, 25-17.
Landmark administrators adjusted the tournament format and allowed a play-in because Merchant Marine was unable to play any of its conference matches this season due to the 16-day shutdown of the federal government.
The Gophers (10-18) never trailed in either of the first two sets. Kills by Megan Chalk (Severna Park, Md./Severna Park) and Addie Lanzarotta (Los Angeles, Calif./Culver City), a service ace by Sarah Johnson (Ridgewood, N.J./Ridgewood) and a pair of hitting errors by the Mariners (11-5) allowed head coach Michael Bossom's squad to jump out to a 5-0 advantage in the opening set, which ended with back-to-back attack errors by the opponent, one of which was caused by a block credited to Lanzarotta and Michelle Tweedie (Accra, Ghana/Lincoln Community School).
The first four points of the second set all went to Goucher before Merchant Marine picked up its first point on a kill by Kelly Hodges. The point that put the Gophers up 15-7 was from a kill by Chalk that made the senior outside hitter only the second player in school history to reach 1,300 kills during her career.
The Mariners enjoyed a 5-2 lead in the third set before the Gophers earned five consecutive points. They tied the score at 5-5 and also went ahead for good on attack errors, both with Lanzarotta serving.
Chalk's team-leading 18th kill of the match accounted for Goucher's 24th point in the third set. Merchant Marine won the next point thanks to a kill by Jordy Macbeth, but a bad serve on the subsequent point brought the match to a close.
Johnson finished with 31 assists, the fourth time this season she has surpassed 30 assists in a three-set match. Tori Rain (Ellicott City, Md./Centennial) led the Gophers in digs with 15.
Before they face the Cardinals in the Landmark quarterfinals on November 5, the Gophers have two home matches against non-conference opponents still on the schedule. The first one is against Notre Dame (Md.) Tuesday at 7 p.m.