Owls Comeback to Top Seahawks 3-2; Advance to ECAC Semifinals
KEENE, N.H. 11/9/11 – After falling behind 2-1 to Salve Regina, the Keene State College volleyball team fought back for the 3-2 victory in the ECAC Northeast Quarterfinals on Wednesday night at Spaulding Gymnasium. Seniors Bridget O'Bryant (Merrimack, N.H.), Kristen Girard (Red Hook, N.Y.) and Ellyse Davis (Londonderry, N.H.) combined for 50 of the Owls 59 kills in the victory.
"This was a nice win for us," said KSC head coach Bob Weiner. "We are finally starting to cure our fourth set blues which is something we have been struggling with all year, but it's good to move on to the weekend."
KSC (19-13), who looks to defend their ECAC crown, will travel to top-seeded U.S. Coast Guard Academy on Saturday for an 11 a.m. start. "Coast Guard has more of a traditional rhythm and that fit's us ok," said Weiner. "But they are a complete team and we have to show up and play if we are going to have a chance."
In a back-and-forth first set, KSC prevailed 26-24. After opening up a 10-4 lead, the Owls led the Seahawks back into the game, evening the contest at 16 apiece on a Keene State ball handling error. With the score tied at 21, 22 and 23, the Owls finally were able to grab a two-point advantage on a Davis kill and an O'Bryant solo block to close out the set.
Salve had their best hitting percentage of the match in set number two, as the Seahawks would lead by as many as five (20-15) and senior middle hitter Julianne Barry's (Randolph, Mass.) kill clinched the 25-21 win for the visitors.
In set three both teams were having trouble swinging, as they each hit .128, but Barry and freshman outside-hitter Jennifer Duggan (Merrimack, N.H.) each had kills to life Salve Regina to a 25-21 third set win and a 2-1 lead.
KSC would bounce back in sets four and five, moving junior Meryl Ragaini (Seymour, Conn.) to the right-side and helping the offense click. Davis would end the fourth game with one of her 12 kills, while junior Alex Lehocky (Edgewood, N.M.) would close out the match with one of her seven service aces in the 15-11 fifth set win.
O'Bryant led all players with 22 kills and 18 digs on the match, while Girard had 16 kills and 17 digs of her own. Senior Setter Laurie Whalen (Niantic, Conn.) had 47 assists and added 17 digs in the win. Also reaching double-digits, Lehockey had 14 digs for the hosts.
Barry led the Seahawks with 19 kills and a .432 hitting percentage (19-3-37). Duggan was second-best, compiling 14 kills, while sophomore outside hitter Clare Adams (New Concord, Ohio) rounded out the double-digits with 11 kills. Freshman setter Taylor Violet (Tiverton, R.I.) had 42 assists and 17 digs in the losing effort.