WORCESTER, Mass. (September 21, 2019) – The Western New England University volleyball team split a pair of matches with Worcester State University and Wheaton College on Saturday afternoon during a tri-match at Worcester State's Brissette Court. The Golden Bears outlasted the Lancers in five sets, before falling to the Lyons 3-0.
WNE 3, Worcester State 2 (25-13, 22-25, 25-15, 22-25, 15-13)
Western New England was led by seniors Cassandra Holmes (Ellington, Conn.) and Ashley Matthews (Salem, N.H.) in the opener. Holmes matched her career-high with 17 kills on a .394 hitting percentage, while Matthews registered a double-double with 12 kills and 19 digs. Senior setter Caitlyn Sibiskie (Rockfall, Conn.) facilitated the offense with 37 assists to go along with eight digs and six kills.
Worcester State sophomore outside hitter Natalie Gillis (Ashland, Mass.) paced the Lancers in both kills (17) and digs (15).
Western New England cruised in the opening set, posting a .536 hitting percentage in a 25-13 victory. The Lancers responded with a 25-22 second set win to even the match, but the Golden Bears regained a 2-1 set lead with their 25-15 victory in the third frame. Worcester State stayed alive with another 25-22 win in set four, before the Golden Bears clinched the win with a clutch 15-13 fifth set triumph.
Wheaton 3, WNE 0 (28-26, 25-23, 25-20)
Holmes again led the Golden Bears, hitting .476 with 11 kills and two block assists. Matthews chipped in with seven kills and five digs, while Sibiskie finished with 28 assists.
Wheaton utilized a balanced offensive effort with four players recording 7+ kills. Junior Julia Palomba (San Carlos, Calif.) paced the Lyons with a team-high ten kills on a .318 attack clip to go with eight digs and a pair of block assists.
Wheaton held an early 9-5 advantage in the opening frame following kills from Palomba and senior setter Becca Houghton (Emmaus, Pa.).
Trailing 14-9 later in the frame, the Golden Bears used a 9-4 run to knot the score at 18-18. After falling behind 21-20, Western New England won four straight points to push the Lyons to the brink with a 24-21 lead. Wheaton responded with a 4-0 run of its own, however, to take a 25-24 lead. The back and forth continued as the Golden Bears used kills from Sydney Tabor (Waterford, Conn.) and Holmes to regain a 26-25 edge. Wheaton tied the set for a final time on a kill by Palomba, and following a WNE timeout, another Palomba kill gave the Lyons a 27-26 lead. Wheaton took the marathon set following a WNE attack error.
The second set was also close, as the Golden Bears overcame a pair of late deficits to tie the frame at 20-20 and later 23-23. Wheaton again came through late, however, as the Lyons won the final two points to open up a 2-0 set lead.
Western New England led the third frame 3-1, before Wheaton won six of the next seven points to open up a 7-4 advantage. The Lyons eventually stretched their cushion to eight (19-11) on a kill by Houghton, and went on to claim a 25-20 triumph to seal the sweep.
Western New England (6-8) returns home to host the University of New England in the Golden Bears' Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) opener on Tuesday night at 7 p.m.