WENHAM, Mass. (October 22, 2019) – After winning the first two sets, the Western New England University volleyball team fell victim to a Gordon College rally as the Fighting Scots came back to claim a 3-2 (21-25, 19-25, 25-22, 25-19, 22-20) victory over the Golden Bears on Tuesday night in Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) action at the Bennett Center.
Western New England was led by the senior trio of middle blocker Cassandra Holmes (Ellington, Conn.), outside hitter Ashley Matthews (Salem, N.H.) and setter Caitlyn Sibiskie (Rockfall, Conn.). Holmes hit .333 with a match-high 17 kills, five digs and three block assists, while Matthews contributed 12 kills, 21 digs and four aces. Sibiskie turned in a strong all-around effort with a career-high 45 assists, 24 digs, six kills and four aces.
Gordon graduate student Jamie Tafoya (Fort Collins, Colo.) tied Holmes for the match-high with 17 kills to pace the Scots. Senior outside hitter Amanda Snyder (San Jose, Calif.) was also a key contributor for the home team, recording a double-double with 16 kills and 13 digs.
With the opening set tied 19-19, the Golden Bears used a 4-0 run with kills from Holmes and juniors Toni Fiore (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) and Hailey McDonnell (Methuen, Mass.) to claim a 23-19 lead. The Fighting Scots were unable to overcome Western New England's late surge as the Golden Bears went on to post a 25-21 victory.
Trailing 19-16 late in the second set, the Fighting Scots drew to within two (19-17) on a kill by junior Jacque Fitzgerald (Wyantskill, N.Y.) coming out of a Gordon timeout. The home team would get no closer, however, as a 5-0 Western New England spurt fueled by a kill and three aces from Matthews put the Golden Bears in control. After Gordon won the next two points, junior Abigail Bundy (Lebanon, Conn.) recorded a kill to end the frame in favor of Western New England.
The Golden Bears held a 9-4 advantage early in the third set, before Gordon utilized a 10-0 run to go up 14-9. Western New England chipped away at its deficit and held a 20-19 lead late, but the Fighting Scots won six of the next seven points to avoid the sweep.
Gordon established an early lead (7-3) in the fourth set and never looked back, keeping the Golden Bears at bay through the remainder of the frame to force a fifth stanza.
The Fighting Scots carried their momentum into the decisive fifth set, winning the first four points and eventually holding a commanding 11-2 cushion. Western New England stormed back with a 7-0 run, closing the gap to two (11-9), before tying the frame late (14-14) with a key 3-0 surge. The Golden Bears fought off three match points and then gained the upper hand, but Western New England was unable to close it out as Gordon also survived three match points. After tying the set at 20-20 on a kill by Tafoya, the Fighting Scots capitalized on a pair of Golden Bear attack errors to secure the marathon victory.
• Western New England drops to 4-5 in five-set matches this season.
• Sibiskie has recorded 89 assists over her last two contests.
Western New England (12-13, 2-3 CCC) returns home to host Clark on Thursday night, while Gordon (12-11, 3-3 CCC) hosts Nichols on Saturday.