By David F. Pendrys
WEST HARTFORD, CT – Despite an energetic fight, the Hartford Hawks were downed by the Stony Brook Seawolves Sunday afternoon. Hartford won set 1 25-22, but the visitors swept the next three sets 25-7, 25-16, and 25-22.
Abby Nash led the Hawks with 10 Kills, Brittany Braun had 8, and Jenna Bridges and Paula Modestow had 7. Modestow had 2 Aces as well. Megan Anderson had 31 Assists to lead the team.
Braun hit for .389 to lead the main Hawks offensive group and Nash hit for .259.
Bridges had a solo Block and three shared ones. Katy Henchy and Braun each shared 3 Blocks. Montrashay Worley had 17 Digs, Modestow 11 and Anderson had 7.
McKyla Brooks led the Seawolves with 14 Kills, Maria Pool had 13 Kills, and Cydney Bowman and Jordan Gels had 12. Emily Costello and Kiani Kersteer had 2 Aces. LeAnne Sakowicz had 43 Assists,
Brooks hit for a solid .500 hit percentage, Bowman had a .375 hit percentage, and Poole hit for .346.
Bowman had 1 solo Block and two shared ones, Poole shared 3 Blocks, and Brooks shared two. Kerstetter had 12 Digs, Costello had 9, as did Kardasia Hitchcock.
Set 1 opened with Stony Brook racing out to a 6-2 lead, but Hartford tied it right back up at 8-8 with Modestow serving for most of the run. The Seawolves took brief one point leads, only to have Hartford tie it back up at 18-18. After a Hartford point gained the lead, the Hawks kept rolling. Henchhy and Braun shared a Block, and the Seawolves hit the ball out of bounds for a 21-18 lead. Kills from Costello and Brooks cut the lead to 1, but Braun slapped a Kill from the net, and Stony Brook attacked out of bounds to give the U of H a three point lead. Poole and Brooks each had Kills to cut the lead back to one, but Henchy smashed the ball in front the net, and an error from Stony Brook resulted in a 25-22 set win. Hartford hit for .310 during the set, and Stony Brook only .156.
Stony Brook started set 2 similar to set 1, by getting up to a big lead thanks in part to multiple kills from Gels, Poole, and Bowman. The two teams traded points but a Kill from Bowman touched off a long Stony Brook run including two Aces from Kerstetter, a Block from Brooks and Poole, and a kill off the blocking line by Costello for an even larger advantage. When all was said and done the set ended 25-7 as Stony Brook hit for a whopping .517 percent to Hartford’s .040.
Set 3 was fairly even as Hartford took a small lead, but Stony Brook closed the gap and the teams were soon at a 13-13 tie. The Seawolves then snatched the initiative away from Hartford and took a two point lead. Nash hacked the ball off the opposing blocking line to cut the lead to one, but a Hartford error and a Poole Kill off a defender’s fingertips put Stony Brook up 18-15. Hartford would muster only one more point before Stony Brook rolled off kills from Poole and Costello as well as an Ace from Gels. Stony Brook’s 24th point flew off a defender and nearly at the author’s head, fortunately missing. The score wrapped up 25-16 and Stony Brook had a 2-1 lead. Sb hit for .448 in the set, and Hartford did put up a .258 hit percentage but it wasn’t enough.
The visitors tried to get momentum quickly in the fourth set as they rushed out to a 6-3 lead, but Hartford tied it right back up. The Seawolves tried again flying out to a 15-12 advantage over time, but Bridges sandwiched two kills around an opposing error to tie the score. Stony Brook would respond with an eventual 4 point run started by Gels putting down an errant Hartford pass, and a Block from Bowman and Poole as well as another Block sequence and a Hartford error in the mix. That would be the difference as Hartford pursued again but Stony Brook was in great position. Still, at Match point, Hartford rattled off four straight points including a Block from Henchy and Bridges, and a Modestow Block as well. But Brooks ended it with a blast bring the score to 25-22, set and match for Stony Brook. Hartford actually hit for .219 in the set as opposed to Stony Brook’s .143.
While Stony Brook had their own share of errors, they landed more Kills to make up for it. Whereas Hartford dug some holes and lost some momentum with various errors throughout the game. This does mean however if that can be tightened up Hartford’s strengths can flourish more. Also it is notable with the match nearly lost, four straight points is a solid run which showed the Hawks didn’t quit even after some rough sets before.
Stony Brook rises to 15-9 and 5-3 in the America East. Hartford drops to 5-17 and 2-6 in the America East.