by David F.P. [Modest 2009 Hartford Volleyball Image Gallery]
WEST HARTFORD, CT- As loud music blared in the quads nearby, fans filled into the Reich Family Pavilion and its volleyball specific gym to take in the home opener between the Red Foxes of Marist College, and the Hartford Hawks. It would be a back and forth match with neither team gaining the advantage for very long in each set. Marist pulled out to a 1-0 lead, but Hartford roared back to take set 2. After two close sets to follow Marist picked up their 2nd win and the third necessary set to take the match victory in front of a packed house.
Marist blasted out of the gate with 4 quick points thanks to a Lindsey Schmid kill, a pair of Hartford spikes out of bounds, and a soft kill by Schmid to the back of the Hartford zone. Marist College’s Emily Brosky picked up a good defensive save in the process.
Erin Macro put Hartford on the board with a cross court smash, though the Hawks didn’t keep the serve long despite a good save by Danielle Etta. An attack out of bounds gave Marist a 1-5 lead, though both teams traded knocks out of bounds, to bring the score to 2-6. Lindsay Ford’s block halved the Marist lead, but a two hit penalty on the Hawks brought things to 3-7. Kami Nethersole blasted a huge kill on the following play. A large rally battle ensured but a Marist player would hit the ball twice in succession to give another point to the home team, 5-7. A Hawks error put the score back up at 5-8 but the match was evening as Hartford picked up another point, only to have Allie Burke tap to the mid gap to extend the lead back to 3. The Red Foxes gave up their advantage with a serve into the net, but Katie Estes whacked a spike off the blockers to regain it again. Macro responded with a hammer of her own. A serve into the net would followed by Hartford, but Nethersole found a nice corner of the Marist defense to slam a kill into. The score was 9-11. Schmid responded whamming the ball off a block, and another point would come with Leeann Harridsleff dropping her own hammer following a good save by teammate Joanna Foss. Hartford called a time out to regroup with the score 9-13.
After the break Nethersole opened fire with a kill off the blockers, and on the next rally UHa’s defense came up with several blocks before Marist whacked an attack out of bounds. The Hawks were back within 2, but Foss spiked just in bounds, and another point followed for the visitors. Michelle Cordell responded and kabonked a ball off the blockers and in for a point. Teammate Sarah Boss stepped into serve and it sailed off a defender out of bounds for an ace. The next rally was long as each side set and dug the ball until finally Marist succumbed to a spike out of bounds. Hallie Fullagar and Cordell then teamed up on a block and the score was 15-15. Marist called a time out of their own.
A Hartford serve out of bounds followed the TO, and Foss and Burke picked up a tandem block. A Hartford attacked miscue put the Red Foxes up by 3, but Hartford picked up a point on a serve out of bounds a swell, and Macro launched a rocket from the net to make it 17-18. Marist took advantage of a UHa spike out of bounds and Estes hurricaned a spike in off the block attempt and it was 17-20.
Marist served into the net on the next serve though, and Maddison Molyneux used a serve to launch a ball off the defense for a dig. A two hit error on the visitors followed that and it was now 20-20. The Red Foxes spiked into the net on the next play and Hartford had the lead 21-20. Marist called for a time out again.
Macro didn’t let the stoppage break momentum and blasted an attack off the defensive line but Estes responded with a spike of her own, Fullagar responded to that with a kill, and Hartford was within 2 of the set win. A miscue on the ensuing play, and another Estes attack tied things up at 23 though.
Nethersole regained the lead when her spike flew off the blockers and outside the lines. Harridsleff’s attack to follow rebounded off the blockers and was not returned and the score was tied again. A Hartford error gave Marist the lead, and a time out by the Hawks did not stop Foss when play resumed from blocking an attack. Marist took the set 24-26 to gain a 1-0 match lead.
Fullagar started things off with an ace as her serve bonked off a defender. The next serve flew out of bounds, and a spike attack out of bounds put Marist ahead 1-2. A muddle followed on the next play, and a Marist block gave 2 more points to the visitors echoing the first set lead. Hartford responded with a kill to break the 4 point run and it was 2-4. Harridsleff started a new run with one of her many kills and another point followed that. Hartford regained a half of the lead with and it was 3-6. The two sides traded kills and points repeatedly until it was 5-8, but a big rally ensued twice in a row and the Hawks gained the point each time. Macro picked up a solo block to complete the comeback and the score was 8-8. Hartford then took the lead, but Foss would have none of it kablamming an attack off the block. Estes joined in the points with a tap over the Hartford block, but Macro responded with a blast of her own. Molyneux’s serve ended up as an ace when Marist couldn’t get the ball returned, and a four hit error on the visitors followed that. Marist called at time out with the score 12-10.
Following the break in play Macro and Nethersole combined on a block which stayed just in bounds to extend the lead. Estes managed to thread a needle and place her attack just in bounds, but Ford scored a point with a tap over the defense making it 15-11. On the next play, many a Hartford player had good defensive plays to keep the rally alive, but it was not enough to prevent an eventual spike out of bounds. An attack on the next play would end up in the net, though Marist would serve into the net in response, and Hartford then served out of bounds behind the far line. The score was 16-14 on the exchange of errors. Schmid happily received a well placed set from her teammate and typhooned a shot into the Hartford zone. She and Harridsleff then teamed up on a block to tie the game at 16.
Marist served into the net, and UHa picked up an additional point right after that, but an attack out of bounds, and a Schmid serve hitting the net and dropping into a gap brought the score back to a tie 18-18. The Red Foxes served out of bounds on the ensuring play and Sydney Scott and Cordell teamed up on a block. A time out followed, but Cordell hit her attack off the Marist defense and out of bounds. The Red Foxes hit the ball four times n the next play and Hartford had a 22-18 lead. It was getting to be crunch time, but Foss cam up with a kill. Hartford’s 8 counterpart Cordell responded, but Marist hung in their with their own unreturnable attack. The score was now 23-20. Hartford finished the deal off with a Macro spike and then a Molyneux service ace. The Hawks took the set 25-20 and evened the match at 1-1.
After a brief intermission the teams returned to the court. Hartford started off with Macro delivering yet another kill, but not surprisingly Schmid responded with a big kill of her own. Nethersole responded, and Harridsleff returned fire. Marist broke the point trading with a spike just in bounds and it was 2-3. The match was tied back up when the Red Foxes served into the net. Molyneux tapped the ball over the defense, and a Hawks block put them ahead 5-3. On the ensuing rally Molyneux made a great defensive save following two similarly good saves by teammates to which eventually lead to another UHA point. With the score 6-3, the home team served into the net to break the run. Molyneux picked up another point with a smash off the back defense, but Foss rocketed a kill off a Hawk and out of bounds. A miscue by the Hawks put Marist back within 1, 7-6. Foss then served up an ace which flew off the home team and into the stands, and an attack out of bounds put the visitors up again. Dawn Jan blocked the ball off numerous defenders for a two point lead, but Scott smacked an attack off the block. A serve out of bounds ended the run, but another Hawks attack brought them back within 1.
Schmid was not done, and her kill landed just in bounds in a corner, and a long battle rally on the next play also ended in a Marist point. Macro bombarded the D with her own kill and Marist spiked into the net following that, and the score as 11-12. Cordell tied things back up with her kill off the defense, but a serve out of bounds put the foxes back up. Cordell kabonged a kill in and it was tied up again, and Ford had an ace when her serve ricocheted hard off the defense. The high scoring Schmid jumped up high to receive a well placed set and slammed it home to tie things at 14, but Molyneux hit a shot through the block to regain the lead. Foss delivered two straight kills to gain Marist a lead, and then following a great save by Jan, Foss picked up a third kill, and after that, a fourth, to put the score at 15-18. Hartford called a time out.
UH9 opened play up again with a blast that whapped off a defender and high into the crowd landing very close to my position in the bleachers. Foss hit a shot down the line to pick up yet another kill, but Marist would open the door with a two hit error. With the score 17-19, perhaps the longest rally of the match ensued with each side carefully setting things up, preventing disaster and return it back and forth. Finally Burke lined up a spike and delivered the kill. A spike into the net by Hartford put the score at 17-21, and despite a time out the Hawks would not score again thanks to some errors and also two aces by Brosky including a shot which hit the net and dropped in. Marist would take the set 17-25 and now had a 2-1 lead in the match.
The set opened up with each team battling to a 3-3 tie. This included a spike from Estes, and a kill from Nethersole as well as a Marist player running out of bounds to make a defensive play and Foss being able to effectively translate that save into a point. Hartford responded with a tip over the defense to regain the lead, but Foss landed an attack just in bounds. A Hartford spike error, was counterbalanced by a Molyneux smash, but a miscue followed, only to have Macro tie things back up 6-6 with her kill, and teammate Scott walloped one down too. Schmid responded, and a Hartford attack error put the visitors back ahead 7-8, only to have Scott’s kill tie things back up again.
The pattern continued to a 12-12 score including a Harridsleff blast, Macro stuffing her opponents with a block, Schmid striking again, Fullagar whapping the ball off numerous defenders and out, Foss with a kill, and Cordell just blasting a well set ball in as well. An attack error would tie things up 12-12, but Marist would then start to pull away thanks in part to Estes’s block and a precision kill right after, as well as some Hartford errors and another Estes blast. The score was soon 13-17. Molyneux picked up a cross court kill, but Estes again was the nemesis of the Hawks at this stage of the match with her kill. Fullagar had a thunderous shot in response, but Marist was back ahead by 5 following a Hawks lift error. Time out was called at 15-20. Stephanie Robinett’s serve following the stoppage was an ace, but Nethersole tapped a ball over to keep the lead at 5. Despite a great save by Fullagar on the next rally though, the Hawks were unable to return an attack, and Burke and Harridsleff teamed up on a block soon after. The two teams traded errors, but with the score 17-24, Harridsleff iced it with a kill to the floor. Marist won the set 17-25 and the match 3-1.
It was a very exciting match and it certainly to a laymen looked much more even the result indicates. It was certain a back and forth affair for much of the time. Each side also had their sharpshooters who seemed to find plenty of success. There of course were so many great defensive plays, and the digs and sets that are hard to narrate into a report due to the speed at which everything happens. Without the setups there might not be any kills.