Seton Hall Volleyball looked down and out in Miami. After dropping five of their first six games in the 2013 season, the Pirates were looking to flip the script. But after a shutout loss to Miami (FL) on Friday at the Hurricane Invitational, the hopes of doing just that weren’t in a good place.
A fire was lit under The Hall on Saturday morning against Florida Gulf Coast. SHU came back from a two-set deficit, forcing a dramatic fifth set that went down to the wire. Trailing 11-7, the Pirates scored four consecutive points to tie the match. The two teams countered each other until the set was tied at 15 apiece. After the Eagles committed an attack error, the country’s leader in triple-doubles in 2013 put a cap on the match. Senior Shelbey Manthorpe came up with the kill to give the Pirates the set and the match (23-25, 14-25, 25-19, 25-16, 17-15). Manthorpe finished with a career-high 26 assists, 11 digs and 10 kills. Coming with her 23rd career triple-double, Manthorpe also tallied six blocks. Senior Stacey Manthorpe made her presence felt in many ways throughout the match, putting up nine kills and nine digs. Joining the two sisters in the offensive production was junior Molly Grammer, who racked up 10 kills.
New libero Tessa Fournier, who takes over for the program’s all-time digs leader Alyssa Warren due to graduation, had a breakout performance. The sophomore compiled 21 assists with five digs. In the front line, Amanda Hansen tallied nine kills and seven blocks.
The first set, featuring 12 ties and nine lead changes, was a foreshadowing to how the match played out. Just when it looked as if the Pirates were pulling away with a 22-19 lead, FGCU went on a 6-1 run to take the first. The game of runs continued in the second when the Eagles flew out to an 8-1 advantage. A 6-2 run was capped by Grammer, who delivered a kill to force a timeout for FGCU. The Eagles responded with an 11-4 surge to go up 21-11, and later took the set.
The rally began in the third set for the Pirates, but the first half of the set was neck-and-neck. The Pirates broke out to take a lead that extended to seven points, one that the blue and white did not give up.
After jumping out to an 11-6 advantage in the fourth set, the Pirates did not allow the Eagles to get closer than four. Shelbey and Stacey Manthorpe combined for the final six kills of the set.
Just a few hours later, the Pirates took the floor against Florida A&M, and the momentum kept on rolling. The Pirates never trailed in the first set, and controlled the match to win 3-1 (25-15, 31 assists to go with five digs, four kills and three blocks22-25, 25-11, 25-9).
Hansen had five kills in the first set, leading SHU to a 19-12 advantage that the Rattlers could not come back from. The Pirates got off to a slow start in the second, but regained an 18-15 lead. The Rattlers responded, though, ending the set on a 10-4 run. In the third, the Rattlers scored four of the first five points before the Pirates rallied to get into a 7-7 tie. The Hall followed with an 11-1 run that did more than enough to carry momentum into the fourth, as the Pirates exploded out to a 13-4 advantage and did not look back.
Stacey Manthorpe recorded her second double-double of the weekend with 11 kills and a team-high 15 digs. Hansen finished with 12 kills, five blocks, and a team-high .588 attack percentage. And Shelbey Manthorpe stayed in machine-mode, totaling a weekend-high 25 assists along with seven kills and eight digs.
Friday: Miami (FL) 3, Seton Hall 0 (25-20, 27-25, 25-22)
Stacey Manthorpe tallied 12 kills and 12 digs for her first double-double of the weekend, but it wasn’t enough. The Hurricanes, who went to the NCAA Tournament last season. Holding an 11-8 lead in the first set, the Pirates had momentum on their side. It didn’t last though, as Miami proceeded with an 11-3 run to take a 19-14 lead. The five-point advantage stayed that way for the Hurricanes in the first.
The Pirates rallied from a 19-12 deficit with a 12-5 run to square the second set at 24 apiece. After Grammer came up with a clutch kill, a Miami timeout was all the Hurricanes needed to hit the refresh button and score three straight.
In the third set, it was more of the same, tightly contested volleyball that the two had played throughout the night. With the frame tied at 21 apiece, the Hurricanes scored four out of the five remaining points.
Shelbey Manthorpe finished with 31 assists to go with five digs, four kills and three blocks.
Next week, the Pirates will open up a loaded home slate this fall. SHU will play seven additional home games than they did in 2013, beginning with the Seton Hall Invitational. The Pirates will host Cornell at noon and Siena at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 5, before taking on Rutgers at noon and UNLV at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 6.
John Fanta can be reached at email@example.com or on twitter @John_Fanta. For complete coverage of Seton Hall athletics, follow @setoniansports.