PHILADELPHIA – Playing in her 100th career match, Felician University senior outside hitter Paulina Calero (El Centro, Calif.) produced season highs of 16 kills and three blocks, but the Golden Falcons were defeated by host Chestnut Hill College, 3-2 (25-23, 22-25, 19-25, 25-22, 15-10), in Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference action on Wednesday night at Sorgenti Arena.
However, due to Nyack College's 3-0 CACC win over Bloomfield College on Wednesday, Felician (12-17, 7-11 CACC) has qualified for the league playoffs. The Golden Falcons are two games ahead of Bloomfield with each team having one match remaining. Felician will be making its first trip to the CACC Championship tournament since 2013 and has never reached the semifinals.
In the playoffs, Felician will face CACC South Division regular-season champion Holy Family University on Tue., Nov. 6 at 6 p.m. on Holy Family's northeast Philadelphia campus. More information will be released early next week.
On Wednesday, Felician set a school record of 117 digs in the two-hour, two-minute match. Freshman libero Sierra Gallagher (Honolulu, Hawaii) came up with 30 digs, and became the first player in Felician history with two 30+ dig matches in the same season. Freshman outside Kahea Aea (Mililani, Hawaii) turned in season highs of 20 kills and 22 digs.
Junior opposite hitter Cassie Callahan (St. Louis, Mo.) paced the Griffins (10-18, 7-11) with 17 kills and 27 digs.
With the teams even at one set apiece and 14-14 in the third, a CHC error, a kill by Calero and an Aea service ace put Felician ahead by three. Still winning by that same margin, 22-19, after a kill by Aea, the Golden Falcons finished out the set when Katie Asbery (Mililani, Hawaii) came up with back-to-back aces followed by another Aea kill.
A 4-0 run put Chestnut Hill ahead, 16-14, in the fourth set, and the hosts never trailed again. Felician came within one point on three occasions, but each time a Griffin attacker had an answer. Ahead 23-21, CHC forced a deciding set following kills by Lauren Lipinski (Gilbert, Ariz.) and Corinne Kalala (Highlands Ranch, Colo.).
Felician trailed, 10-9, in Set 5, only to see the Griffins claim five of the final six rallies and the match.
Felician saw junior setter Charlotte Greek (Menifee, Calif.) amass season highs of 45 assists and 19 digs. Senior Baylei Furman (Kaneohe, Hawaii) had 10 kills and 16 digs, and senior Jazlyn Pipkins (Paris, Texas) was part of eight blocks.
Calero is the 10th Golden Falcon, and second this season, to reach 100 career matches. She had her most kills since a five-set loss to Concordia (N.Y.) College on Oct. 3, 2017.
Felician finishes the regular season with a 1 p.m. CACC match against Concordia on Saturday in Bronxville, N.Y.