By David F.P.
HAMDEN, CT- The Hartford Hawks and St. Peter’s Peahens went at it in the early match of the Quinnipiac Invitational on Saturday. Hartford pulled out to a two sets lead only to have St. Peter’s win Set 3, but Hartford then closed the deal in a hard fought fourth set to take the win.
Set 1 went Hartford’s way as they took a lead after the two sides rallied to a 10-10 tie, and the Hawks never looked back picking up a 25-18 leads.
Highlights for the Hawks included a Lindsay Makowicki kill early on, a later kill from Dionna Kirton, two straight big spikes from Michelle Cordell, Kirton crushed another ball over, and Lindsay Swan got in on the scoring a swell. Lindsay Ford later on used a redirection move to get the ball past the defenders, Taylor McCreery stepped into serve and delivered an Ace which set off a scoring drive for Hartford. Makowicki picked up a pair of points late in the set, and Cordell ended a long rally by typhooning an attack in. It would be Kirton’s service ace that eventually won the set as well.
For the Peahens, Kim Mendoza, and Chloe Rost shared a block early on, and Mendoza got offensive with a kill not long afterward. Kassi Wirth’s kill kept St. Peter’s in it early and later sent a crashing spike over. Stephanie Phillips let loose an attack that hit the defender and flew out of bounds. Rost and Corey Haynes had a pair of blocks in the middle of the set and each picked up kills later on. Rost also knocked an errant Hartford set in for a point late.
Set 2 was a much longer and closer set as Hartford eventually needed 29 points to fend off the 27 of the Peahens. For the Hawks highlights included Cordell’s kill to open up set, and Makowicki followed suit. Cordell later added another blast, and Makowicki followed that with a spike kill, the Hawks picked up another point after a save from Swan, Cordell served up an Ace, and right afterward had two key defensive plays before Swan’s cross court kill picked up a spike. Kirton picked up a kill, mid-set, though St. Peter’s was continuing to nurse a lead. Still Hartford’s comeback began with another Cordell blast and then another. She later teamed with Swan on a block to tie the set at 20. Kirton then served up the Ace. Cordell’s smash hit again, and later Kirton’s cross court smash to the gap hit as the game enter extra points, it was Ford’s fake set attack that regained a lead and Cordell with a block to win it 29-27.
For the Peahen’s highlights included an early kill by Rost a service ace by Phillips, a kill by Haynes, followed by a kill by Mendoza, a good defensive save by Mendoza later kept the ball in play, and Rost scored as well, Haynes and Wirth shared a block, and Mendoza launched a cross court kill to a gap. Later Wirth pounced on an overpass, and Mendoza had a big kill. Later Rost and Anna Molokotina had a tandem block. Haynes received a set and whapped it over. Phillips later had an ace to keep pace with Hartford, and Molokotina’s attack tied the set at 27 before Hartford finally closed it out.
Set three went to St. Peter’s with a 25-13 win over the Hawks. Highlights for the U of H included a missile launched by Kami Nethersole, a block by Scott, a great save by Ford later in the set, Scott picked up a big kill, Cordell a huge kill, Kirton picked up a kill, then Cordell added, Nethersole a smash, and another kill right after that, Swan picked up a kill as well.
For the set winning Peahens, Phillips picked up a kill early in set, Rost later had a point right after, Doheny picked up a defensive save, Wirth picked up a whack kill, and Mendoza spiked home a ball right after her. After a string of Hartford errors Haynes picked up a kill, and Molokotina used a fake set to pick up a kill and catch the D off guard. Later Monique Flores served an Ace. Later with a big lead, Rost hits a kill, Phillips teed up a big kill. Molokotina send a ball flying off of the defense, later Wirth added another kill, and Molokotina served up an ace added more fuel to the lead and soon the set was over.
Hartford picked up the set win and match win with a 25-18 score over the Peahens in Set 4. U of H’s highlights included Cordell’s opening smash, and later Kirton’s ace, Ford had a good save during a long rally and eventually a St. Peter’s miscue lead to a point. Cordell then tapped the ball over for another point. Scott added a block and a kill, leading to a Peahen’s time out. Ford then served up a service ace, Makowicki added a kill, and later Scott picked up a block. Hartford was also gaining on Peahen errors as well. Scott put down the overpass, Ford sent a kill into a gap, and Nethersole unleashed a pure rocket in. Kirton then stepped up with a huge smash down the line after a pair of Peahen points. Cordell then hit a blast. After a hugely long rally ensued including a magnificent diving save by Scott, and she picked up another key play, and it was ended by Kirton’s tap to a corner. One of the last points of the game came when Kirton sent a ball through the blockers.
St. Peter’s highlights included Phillips tapping the ball in, and a spike from Mendoza as well as a service ace from Katie McFadden. Mendoza added a kill, Wirth then picked up a block, and a whapped kill, and later she delivered another kill….and yet another to the defenses left corner interspersed among Hartford points. Phillips then added a smash. Rost added a tap. Mendoza and Wirth each picked up points as the set as waning, and Wirth had another kill, and Mendoza served up an Ace. Rost had a tap kill and shared a block with Phillips in the last ditch effort to hold off Hartford.
This was Hartford’s second win of the season, and with the loss St. Peter’s drops to 4 and 5 for the season.