Gophers Shock Cardinals in Five Set Landmark Thriller

Gophers Shock Cardinals in Five Set Landmark Thriller

WASHINGTON — Entering the Landmark Conference opener for both teams, Goucher and Catholic had met 19 times since the 1998 season. The Cardinals came out on top in all 19 of those matchups, with 15 victories coming in straight sets.

None of that history mattered tonight.

A kill from Corinne Kahler (York, Pa./York Country Day) in the fifth set sealed a dramatic 3-2 victory for the Gophers in a wild back-and-forth affair. Set scores were 11-25, 25-23, 25-22, 3-25, 15-11, with Goucher scoring the final five points in the final set to finish off the upset.

Catholic (15-2, 0-1 Landmark) had an eight-match winning streak snapped, while the Gophers (7-8, 1-0 Landmark) have now won three of their last four.

With the match leveled at a set apiece, Goucher jumped out to a commanding 17-6 lead in the third set. That advantage, however, quickly evaporated after a 14-1 run by the Cardinals enabled them to move ahead 20-18.

The Gophers, displaying resiliency which was on hand all night long, won the next five points to regain their lead, and a kill from Michelle Tweedie (Accra, Ghana/Lincoln Community School) clinched the set.

Catholic's momentum in the later stages of the third set carried into the fourth, as Goucher was handed its worst defeat in a set since the NCAA moved to a 25-point scoring system in 2008.

The Cardinals also held a 3-1 lead in the deciding set before the Gophers sprung back to life, winning seven of the next eight points to claim an 8-4 advantage.

Once again, Catholic recovered, taking five points in a row to grab a 9-8 edge. The teams traded the next four points, with the Cardinals holding their final lead at 11-10 before Goucher finally closed out the victory.

Hannah Kuehl (Plymouth, N.H./Plymouth Regional) had 15 kills to lead the Gopher attack. Kelly Budge (Harrington Park, N.J./Northern Valley Old Tappan) added nine kills, while Tweedie had six. Sarah Johnson (Ridgewood, N.J./Ridgewood) supported the offense with 32 assists. Defensively, Meredith Johnson (Ridgewood, N.J./Ridgewood) led the way with 18 digs, while Val Kirsch (Westport, Conn./Staples) chipped in 12.

The Gophers defeated Catholic for the first time since a 3-1 (12-15, 15-3, 15-12, 15-13) win on Oct. 22, 1998. They will look to build off tonight's thriller when they return to Washington this Saturday for Landmark matchups against Scranton and Merchant Marine.