TOWSON, Md. — Primary setter Sarah Johnson (Ridgewood, N.J./Ridgewood) tallied 52 assists in Goucher's two matches against Susquehanna and Juniata today, and the eighth of those helped her reach a prestigious career milestone.
Johnson became the fourth Gopher in program history to surpass 2,000 assists. Only Shannon Towner (4,145), Claire Sauvage-Mar (2,912) and Laurie Bender (2,325) have registered more assists at Goucher.
Thirty-five of those assists came in the opening match against the Crusaders, and that total was a new season-high for the junior, but it was not enough for the Gophers in a 3-1 setback. Set scores were 25-8, 25-18, 22-25, 25-21.
Susquehanna (16-6, 3-1, Landmark) was projected by Landmark coaches to finish second in the conference's preseason poll, and things did not get easier for Goucher in the nightcap as they went up against a Juniata squad which has never lost a Landmark match and entered the week ranked No. 8 in Division III.
The Eagles (18-2, 5-0 Landmark) lived up to their ranking, posting a 3-0 (25-12, 25-18, 25-13) victory. They have now won eight straight matches while dropping just one set during that stretch.
Hannah Kuehl (Plymouth, N.H./Plymouth Regional) tied a career-high with 16 kills against the Crusaders. Michelle Tweedie (Accra, Ghana/Lincoln Community School) was right behind with a career-high 14 kills, and both registered attack percentages of over .300. Val Kirsch, meanwhile, recorded a season-high 27 digs, one shy of the team high this fall.
After two easy set victories, the Gophers jumped out to a 12-3 lead over Susquehanna in set three. That advantage would grow to 18-8 before the Crusaders rallied to narrow the deficit to 21-19. A pair of kills from Tweedie and a set-sealing kill from Kuehl got Goucher on the board.
The Gophers kept things competitive in the fourth set as well, never trailing by more than five points, but Susquehanna was able to close things out in the end.
Goucher's most competitive set against Juniata came in the second, as the Gophers raced out to a 6-0 lead behind strong serving from Erika DiPasquale (Paramus, N.J./Paramus). The Eagles slowly reeled in Goucher, taking their first lead at 11-10 and never trailing afterwards.
Kuehl and Tweedie had seven kills apiece to lead the offence, while Kirsch chipped in an additional 13 digs.
The Gophers return to action at 7 p.m. Thursday with a road matchup at Marymount (Va.).