Golden Bears Split with Eastern Connecticut & Westfield State

Junior Hailey McDonnell recorded a career-high 15 kills in Western New England's 3-0 win over Elms on Thursday. (Photo by Courtney Carlson)
Junior Hailey McDonnell recorded a career-high 15 kills in Western New England's 3-0 win over Elms on Thursday. (Photo by Courtney Carlson)

Western New England defeats Owls 3-0 after falling to Warriors 3-1

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (September 29, 2018) – The Western New England University volleyball team split a pair of matches with Eastern Connecticut State University and Westfield State University on Saturday in non-conference action at the Alumni Healthful Living Center.

The Golden Bears fell to the Warriors 3-1 (22-25, 25-17, 25-16, 25-15) in the first match of the day, before bouncing back with a 3-0 (25-20, 25-23, 25-13) triumph over the Owls in the final contest. Eastern Connecticut defeated Westfield State 3-0 (26-24, 25-23, 25-19) in the middle match.

Eastern Connecticut 3, WNE 1

Top Performers
Junior outside hitter Ashley Matthews (Salem, N.H.) paced the Golden Bears with a match-high 13 kills and eight digs against the Warriors.

Sophomore outside hitter Hailey McDonnell (Methuen, Mass.) chipped in with seven kills, 11 digs and three block assists.

Eastern Connecticut was led by freshman middle hitter Anna Barry (Andover, Conn.) and sophomore outside hitter Alaetra Long (Lincoln, Neb.). Barry hit .429 with 12 kills and two block assists, while Long recorded a team-best 16 points with 12 kills and four block assists to go with nine digs and two aces.

Game Review
Western New England won the first four points in the opening frame and never trailed in the set en route to a 25-22 triumph. The Golden Bears led by as much as seven (21-14) following a kill by Matthews, and the home team withstood a late 3-0 Eastern Connecticut run to hold on for the win. 

The Warriors raced out to an 8-3 advantage in the second set and eventually stretched their lead to ten (17-7) at the conclusion of a 9-1 run midway through the frame. Western New England battled back to within five (21-16), but the Golden Bears were unable to close the gap as Eastern Connecticut evened the match at 1-1.

The Warriors got off to another strong start in the third set, as they established a 10-4 lead early and grew their cushion to 12 (19-7) following a kill by Barry. Western New England again put together a late rally, but the early deficit proved to be too much to overcome.

In the fourth set, Eastern Connecticut took control early and pulled away down the stretch to seal the frame and the match.

WNE 3, Westfield State 0

Top Performers
Junior middle blocker Cassandra Holmes (Ellington, Conn.) hit .350 with a team-high nine kills against the Owls, while McDonnell added eight and Matthews finished with six kills, six aces and five digs.

Westfield State senior Brianna Starkey (Rockland, Mass.) and sophomore Ainsley MacLeod (Hampden, Mass.) produced five kills each for the visitors.

Game Review
Western New England used a 4-0 run to take a 10-6 lead early in the first set, but the Owls stormed back to pull ahead 13-12. The Golden Bears took control from there with a 6-1 run to establish an 18-14 advantage, and they went on to claim a 25-20 victory.

Late in the second set, Westfield State appeared to be on its way to tying the match with a 22-18 lead, but the Golden Bears won the final seven points with the help of two service aces from Matthews.

Western New England cruised to a sweep with a 25-13 win in the final set. The Golden Bears utilized a 5-0 run early and a 6-0 run later in the frame to put the set out of reach.

Up Next
Western New England (6-11) will be back in action on Wednesday night against Salve Regina at the AHLC.