Game of the Weekend: Keene State women's volleyball vs. UMass-Dartmouth
Today we begin a new feature on the Keene State College athletic web page entitled: "Game/Match of the Weekend". On Friday, we will pick a Saturday game or match that holds special significance. The game could have a major bearing on the Little East Conference standings or highlight an Owl athlete on the verge of setting a record.
We begin the feature by looking at Saturday's key Little East Conference women's volleyball match between Keene State and UMass-Dartmouth.
On one hand, you might be puzzled why we picked this match. After all, Keene State (19-9, 4-0 LEC) is tied for first place in the LEC standings while UMass-Dartmouth enters the match in fourth place with a record of 20-6 (2-2 LEC). The Owls, who have won five straight and eight of their last nine matches, have also had their way with the Corsairs of late, winning the last five meetings.
While the Owls will be looking to remain undefeated in league play, UMD hopes to play the role of spoiler and show that it near-upset against nationally ranked UMass-Boston was no fluke. The Corsairs gave the Beacons all they could handle before falling 3-2 to the defending LEC champs.
That performance caught the eye of KSC Coach Bob Weiner and the Owls. "We might not have specially prepared for the match if they didn't come so close to UMass-Boston," said Weiner. "We might have taken them too lightly."
"It's a big LEC match for us," said KSC junior hitter Kristen Girard. "We have to take every LEC match seriously because we want to come out on top and host the conference tournament."
Weiner says he's pleased with how his team is playing and demonstrating their fortitude every time they step on the court. "This is the gutsiest group we've ever had here," he said. We're banged up. Every day I go to practice and ask "Who's healthy?" Then they walk out for the matches and play hard. I couldn't be prouder of them."
Looking over the scouting report, Weiner says his team must keep a close eye on UMD outside hitters Allie Mastrocola and Eleni Tsparakis. "Their offense comes from the outside," said Weiner. "We're going to have to block and pass them."
Weiner says the Corsairs are also very aggressive defensively and don't give up on anything. "We'll have to earn every point we get," he said.