Matthews & Holmes record eight kills each
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (September 12, 2019) – The Western New England University volleyball team held off a rally by the Sage Colleges to earn a 3-1 (25-22, 25-11, 17-25, 26-24) victory on Thursday night in non-conference action at the Alumni Healthful Living Center.
Western New England utilized a balanced offensive performance with senior outside hitter Ashley Matthews (Salem, N.H.) and senior middle blocker Cassandra Holmes (Ellington, Conn.) recording eight kills each. Matthews also tied sophomore libero Taylor Deluga (Dennis, Mass.) for the team lead with 14 digs.
For the Gators, sophomore Emma Parkington (Dalton, Mass.) led the way with a match-best 11 kills while also tallying 14 digs.
Western New England got off to a strong start, as the Golden Bears built a 9-2 lead early in the opening frame. Sage chipped away at its deficit from there, closing the gap to two (12-10) on a WNE attack error, before eventually getting to within one (20-19) following a Parkington service ace. The Golden Bears won the next three points, however, on their way to a 25-21 victory.
Western New England cruised in the second set, hitting a match-best .435 while Sage struggled with a -.207 clip. The Golden Bears went up by ten (16-6) on a Deluga service ace, and the home team continued to pull away down the stretch to open up a 2-0 set lead.
Sage staved off the sweep with a 25-17 triumph in the third set, and the Gators overcame an 8-0 deficit in the fourth frame, taking a late lead (19-18) on a kill by senior Caitlyn Class (Waterford, N.Y.).
Trailing 23-20 with Sage on the verge of forcing a decisive fifth set, the Golden Bears utilized a 3-0 spurt to tie the contest. The Gators took one final lead (24-23) on a Matthews service error, before Western New England won the next three points to close out the match. Junior Toni Fiore (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) tied it up with a kill, and classmate Hailey McDonnell (Methuen, Mass.) put the Golden Bears up 25-24 before another Fiore kill ended the contest.
• Holmes posted a .333 hitting percentage with eight kills and just two errors in 18 attempts. She also recorded three block assists and led the Golden Bears with 11.5 points.
• Senior Maria Duffy (Meriden, Conn.), who finished with four service aces, leads WNE with 24 this season.
Western New England (4-5) will face Smith and Regis in a tri-match at Smith on Saturday, while Sage (0-10) returns home to host Bard next Wednesday.