By David F. Pendrys [Official New Haven Box Score]
WEST HAVEN, CT – The New Haven Chargers women’s volleyball team continued their undefeated streak in NE-10 play knocking off the Merrimack Warriors in straight games 3-0 Tuesday night.
Stat Leaders. (Spoiler Alert: Rios is in every category.)
Caroline Martins led UNH with 10 Kills, Kali Greathead had 8, and Kristine Rios notched 7. Lexis Peterson, Mallory Nowicki, Camille Garden, and others contributed a variety of Kills as well in this quick match. Martins posted a .261 hit percentage and Greathead a .263. Rios had fewer attempts but a .700 hit percentage all the same. She also had 29 assists on the day and four service Aces. Lindsey Kim and Greathead landed one Ace apiece.
For Merrimack, Sofia Basauri hit for .227 and had 8 Kills, with a variety of her teammates posting a handful. Rosie Sperduto led the visitors with 16 Assists. Katelynn Marr had her team’s 2 service Aces.
Defensively, Peterson had a solo Block and a shared one for UNH. Rios, Garden, and Fernanda da Silva also had shared Blocks. Basauri and Karina Anderson had solo Blocks for Merrimack Marr and Mary Kate McCarroll had a a shared Block apiece. Blocks were not a major part of tonight’s match.
Kim had 12 Digs to lead the Chargers though Martins and Rios had 10. Amanda Cain had 10 for Merrimack, and Basauri had 7.
In the first game, the Chargers got out to a quick 11-4 lead from a variety of sources for points. This included Rios launching 2 straight service Aces. UNH kept rolling and in fact the next five Warriors points came from Charger errors as of varying kinds. In that same time though the home squad had built a 19-9 advantage with at least 3 Kills coming off Greathead’s hands. Merrimack managed one more point before UNH closed it out. Peterson played a role in three of the final five points sharing a block with Rios, launching a spiked ball off the defenders out of play, and blocking the final attack for a point. Rios for her part managed her first of many fake set kills, deceiving the defenders and landing a tap attack in.
In the second game, the Chargers quickly led 14-6 and again most of the Merrimack points were due to their opponent’s mistakes rather than offense. For the Chargers, the usual suspects where landing Kills. Rios unsurprisingly had the first of the game, and later launched two more successive Aces. Nowicki had a some big blasts through the defense as a major contribution.
Merrimack didn’t go quietly managing a few more points, but Martins, Rios and Peterson added to the lead further. The visitors managed a short run thanks to two successive Aces from Marr after she spiked the ball off the UNH blocking line, but time was running out as the score rose to 21-13. It would be all Chargers after that. Greathead hammered her attack through the blockers, Nowicki struck again, and Rios ended the game 25-13 with a well placed attack to a gap.
The final game of the match was Merrimack’s best but not enough to thwart a Chargers sweep. UNH built a quick 6-3 lead thanks in part to Peterson, Martins, and Garden strikes, and a block from Garden and da Silva helped. Basauri and Anderson did what they could to keep the Warriors in the game with Kills and Blocks, and UNH helped with some costly errors to make the score 16-11 despite some impressive smacks from Garden. Rios, again played a major role in her team’s fortunes when she used a fake set attack not one, but twice in a row, fooling her opponents and along with two Martins spikes put the lead at 20-11. Merrimack pursued and got it to 23-18 but they committed a service error setting up match point. Greathead closed the door with a Kill for the 25-18 game win and the match victory.
New Haven rises to 9-7 and 5-0 in the NE-10. Merrimack drops to 3-13 and 0-3 in the NE-10.