By David F.P. [Modest Image Gallery]
HAMDEN,CT- In a late regular season NEC match up, the Sacred Heart University Pioneers made the trip a few towns over to visit the Quinnipiac Bobcats at Kahn Court Friday Night. The result would be a 3 set win for the visitors
Set 1 opened with Sacred Heart pulling out a 17 to 3 lead, though there was good news for the Bobcats too in the set, though such a deficit put the Pioneers in a position to take the set. Offense for SHU in the set included an opening kill from Alissa Young, and another soon after off the defenders and way out of play. Ashlyn Trimble served up an Ace, and Johanna Ovsenek whapped the ball over, it popped off the block and down for another point, Kimmee Roleder launched a rocket of an attack in and a point later Dianis Mercado unleashed a smash. Elise Sage got in on the scoring with a whap, and Mercado used a lighter touch to send it over the QU front line. During this time QU had benefited from 3 SHU errors to give them their points. SHU Libero Jessica Colberg continued to serve as the run went on. Sage added another kill, the Pioneers picked up a block which the Bobcats could not return, and Roleder spiked the ball sending it bouncing off numerous defenders and out of play. Mercado thundered another attack across the line, and Sage got a running start on a kill of her own. Colberg served up an ace during her long run, and Sage lanced a cross court attack to the floor. A QU attack error resulted in the 17th point.
Quinnipiac would respond however with a 13-8 run to put the score at 25-16, losing the set, but picking up a solid run of play in the process. Kayla Lawler had broken the SHU run with a put over to a gap, a few SHU errors benefited the QU too. Young responded for the Pioneers with a big spike which knocked the ball off the Bobcats and over their bench, Tierra Allen’s kill for QU ricocheted off multiple Pioneers before landing as well. Each side traded errors, and then Ovsenek popped a kill off the blockers, Olivia Grattan responded taking a set and unleashing a big kill, and Taylor Payne’s serve bounced off an SHU player for an ace. A very long back and forth ensued finally ending with a Lawler kill to the crowd’s elation. Mercado responded with another huge kill and then picked up a block to bring her team within 1 of victory, but an attack out of play, a Krista Bennett service ace, and another long volley ending kill by Lawler kept the Bobcats going. Allen added another smash as well, but Sage ended the set with a kill.
Set 2 opened with Sacred Heart leaping to an 8-2 advantage. They would hold this to a 20-11 lead, and eventually the 25-14 win in the set. Offense for SHU came from Sage opening the set as she ended the last on, a big kill from Young, Roleder whapping a ball off the net and it dropping in, a tandem block from Roleder and Ovsenek and a Young and Ovsenek block sandwiched around a couple attack errors by QU. Ovsenek sent a ball careening off an opponent and over the scorer’s table, and Mercado came up with a kill from mid court. Ovsenek, Mercado, and Young kept adding to their kill totals, an Sage and Roleder shared a block mid-set. Following kills by Sage, Roleder, and Young, Trimble served up two straight service aces, landing one just in bounds and another off the defense. Megan Pulone and Ovsenek had a block, and Roleder dropped the hammer with a big kill. Late Mercado added a fast moving kill, and ended the set with another.
QU picked up points from an opening kill by Brittanie Robinson, some SHU errors, a block from Payne and Grattan, a kill from Kelby Carey, and a block from Carey and Grattan followed by a couple Allen big kills. Robinson would follow up a diagonal slash with a block with Carey, and after a fashion Carey would add another kill. Grattan also had a spike close to the end of the set.
Set 3 would also go Sacred Heart’s way with a score of 25-13 on the way to the sweep. For the Pioneers their scoring came in part from a missile from Roleder, and three straight blocks including a solo from Ovsenek, a tandem with her and Roleder, and a Maile Hetherington and Ovsenek block as well. Ovsenek had a pair of kills and Roleder added yet another. Sage had a big time solo block, and Roleder continued her hard attacks including one from back court as the lead continued to build. QU scoring during this time included kills from Carey, Payne, Robinson, Grattan, Lawler, Payne shared a block, and then picked up a kill. Sacred Heart was able to wrap up the set soon after though.
Coach Rob Machan’s Pioneers are now 10-2 in conference play and 20-7 overall. Robin Lamott Sparks and the Bobcats are 3-10 in conference and 4-22 overall on the season.