By David F. Pendrys [Official Box Score from SCSU Athletics]
NEW HAVEN, CT – The Southern Connecticut State University Owls Volleyball squad narrowly avoided heading to a fourth set and closed out the Pace Setters 3-0 Tuesday night.
Southern pulled out to a quick lead in Set 1 and never looked back. After breaking a 2-2 deadlock and getting to 6-3, Pace could only give chase as SCSU built their lead. When pace got back within two, Nicole Hauser, and then Alyssa Gage responded with big spikes to lengthen the lead. In fact Pace only got slightly back in it due to Southern errors, but a serve out of bounds gave SCSU a point and Gabriela Vazquez serve up an Ace to make the score 13-8.
On the ensuing play, an SCSU dig flew up hit the basketball hoop above the court, bounced around and rolled down where it was played ablely to Leanna Jadus who blasted it in for another point. Pace nearly closed the gap as Samantha Nidini used a light touch and then on the next point a crushed spike to bring it to 16-14. The two teams traded points, but Jadus struck again, Pace committed an error and following a nice defensive save by Anna Venard, Vazquez slashed the ball cross court for a 20-15 lead. The end was near. Jadus whapped a ball of the blockers for the 23rd Owls point, then Vazquez sent another service Ace before a Pace error ended the set 25-17.
Set 2 was a more even affair for awhile as the teams played to a 14-14 tie with neither team managing to pull out more than a point or two ahead before being reeled back in. The tied turned at point 15 however when Jadus and Kirstin Colwell blocked the Pace attack and the visitor’s gave away another point on an error. Pace’s Claudia Fontanet slammed a cross court spike through the SCSU zone to get back within 1, but Colwell responded with a kill of her own and Venard’s service Ace followed that. A kill from Jadus 3 Southern points later capped a run that put the score at 21-15. Sydney Lecker’s kill for Pace, and a block from Colette Clarke cut the SCSU lead again, but Gage spiked it off the defense to stop their momentum. It would be Gage 3 points later who earned the set point with another thunderous smack and a 25-17 score.
Set 3 was a change of pace, no pun intended, as the Setters took the advantage after the teams fought to a 13-13 tie. Fontanet’s kill followed by an Ace gave Pace a two point lead. A SCSU error and time out later, Elien Peeters struck for Pace and the score was 17-13.
Southern however started clawing back. Gage’s 2 kills and a wallop from Vazquez helped close to 18-17. Now Pace called at time out but the Owls were circling like Sharks. Pace scored again but Vazquez came up with another kill, and Jadus followed it. The two teams were soon at 20-20 but Jadus broke the tie and a Pace attack out of bounds made it 22-20. Another Pace time out would follow and it worked temporarily as Pace off kills from Maria Snelling and Fontanet got back to 22-22, but Jadus shattered the momentum with her own kill, a Pace error followed for point 24, and Colwell ended it with a spike just in bounds for a 25-22 win for the set and a 3-0 win for the match.
Leanna Jadus led Southern with 17 kills followed by Alyssa Gage’s 9 and Gabriela Vazquez’s 7. Vazquez also had four service aces on the night and teammates Alexandria Jurgens and Anna Venard put up 1 each.
Claudia Fontanet posted 11 kills for Pace and Tatjana Calimpong-Burke scored 7, as Maria Snelling had 6. The three each had a service ace on the night. Calimpong-Burke, Elien Peeters and Colette Clarke each had a block.
Gage had 4 blocks to lead SCSU, while Vazquez and Jurgens had 2 apiece.
Jurgens picked up 26 assists on the day and Vazquez and Venard each had 13 digs. Jadus had 12 herself.
Samantha Nidini led Pace with 27 assists, and Calimpong-Burke had 13 digs, Fontanet 11, and Snelling 9.
Of the primary SCSU attackers, Kirstin Colwell had a .400 hit percentage on her 5 kills, Jadus put up a .319, and Gage a .261. Pace’s Peeters had a .250 on her 6 kills, and Fontanet a .212.
SCSU rises to 9-2 total and 2-0 in the NE10. Pace drops to 2-8 and 0-2 in NE10 play.