Volleyball Sweeps Elms in Home Opener, 3-0

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)

McDonnell paces Golden Bears with career-high 15 kills

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (September 5, 2019) – The Western New England University volleyball team swept Elms College, 3-0 (25-20, 25-22, 26-24), on Thursday evening in the Golden Bears' home opener at the Alumni Healthful Living Center.

Top Performers
Junior outside hitter Hailey McDonnell (Methuen, Mass.) powered Western New England's attack with a career-high 15 kills, which came on a .367 hitting percentage. McDonnell also totaled seven digs and a pair of aces.

Senior outside hitter Ashley Matthews (Salem, N.H.) registered a double-double with ten kills and 12 digs, while senior setter Caitlyn Sibiskie (Rockfall, Conn.) finished with 27 assists, six digs and four kills.

For the visitors, sophomore Alanys Cruz (Humacao, P.R.) and junior Hannah Pichardo (South Glen Falls, N.Y.) produced nine and eight kills, respectively. Junior setter Dakota Stewart (Victoria, Tex.) handed out 22 assists to go with 15 digs.

Game Review
Western New England raced out to a 7-1 lead in the opening frame with the help of two kills each from Matthews and senior middle blocker Cassandra Holmes (Ellington, Conn.). The Blazers fought back to tie the set at 13-13, before the Golden Bears regained the momentum and pushed their advantage back to five (20-15) on their way to a 25-20 victory.

Trailing 15-10 in the second set, Elms posted a 5-0 spurt to tie the score. The frame remained close throughout, with the visitors claiming a 22-21 edge on a Cruz kill before Western New England closed out the set with a 4-0 run to take a 2-0 lead in the match.

Elms held the upper hand midway through the third set, as a Pichardo kill gave the Blazers a 15-9 cushion. Western New England began to chip away at its deficit, battling back to the frame 20-20. The teams went back and forth down the stretch until McDonnell sealed the win for the Golden Bears with a kill followed by a match-ending service ace.

Notes
• Western New England hit a season-best .304 with 46 kills and just 12 errors in 112 attempts.
• The Golden Bears have defeated the Blazers in each of the last four seasons, dropping just one set along the way.

Up Next
Western New England (2-3) hosts Amherst and Emerson in a tri-match at the AHLC on Saturday, while Elms (2-2) returns home to take on UMass Dartmouth and Gordon in a tri-match as well.