SELINSGROVE, Pa. - Catholic University women's volleyball sophomore Patricia Martinez totaled match-high 17 kills while freshman Caroline Kelly had a match-high 29 digs as the third-seeded Cardinals fell at second-seeded Susquehanna in the Landmark Conference semifinals Wednesday night at Orlando W. Houts Gymnasium.
Catholic (19-13) finishes the season just one win shy of 20 after advancing to the semifinals for the eighth time in the 12-year history of the Landmark Conference.
Martinez totaled her 18th double double of the season with 17 kills and 13 digs. As a team, the Cardinals totaled 40 kills, but were limited by 33 attack errors and a .043 hitting percentage as the River Hawks posted 35 total blocks.
Martinez and freshman Mackenzie Collier, the team's top two leaders in kills this season with 725, combined for 24 Wednesday, but also had 19 attack errors on 92 swings for a .054 hitting percentage.
The first set featured eight ties, the last of which came at 18-18 after Susquehanna (24-12) used a 5-1 run to erase a 17-13 deficit. The River Hawks closed the set by scoring seven of the final 10 points, including four on Catholic errors to post a 25-21 victory.
The Cardinals totaled 12 attack errors in the opening set and had a minus-.021 hitting percentage.
Catholic rallied from a 6-2 margin in the second set to tie it at 10-10 before both teams found themselves deadlocked for the 10th time at 21-21. Three-straight River Hawk errors gave the Cards a 24-21 lead before a Susquehanna attack error gave Catholic a 25-23 win to even the match at one set apiece.
The River Hawks jumped out to a 10-3 lead in the third set, scoring four points on Cardinal errors, before pushing that lead to as many as 14 with a 12-5 run to take a 22-8 advantage. Catholic scored four of the next five points, including two on kills by Collier, but Susquehanna took a 25-12 victory on an attack error by the Cardinals.
Catholic led 4-3 in the fourth set before a 6-0 run by the River Hawks gave them a 9-4 lead that they would not relinquish. Susquehanna led by as many as seven on six separate occasions before scoring five of the final seven points to clinch the match and move on to the Landmark Conference championship at Juniata with a 25-15 win.
With 29 digs, Kelly totaled 20 or more kills for the 13th time this season, just missing 30 for the fourth time. She finishes the season with a team-high 603 digs and is just the third player since 2011 to total 600 digs in a single season, joining Michelle Bouchard and Kristina Purcell.
Sophomore Maria Gonzalez had 31 assists and 16 digs to finish the season with 1,073 assists and 292 digs.
Meanwhile, with 19 wins this season, head coach Nagy Abdelrazek now has 562 wins in 960 matches for his career.