LEC Women's Volleyball Tournament: Owls advance with 3-1 win over RIC; Weiner nets 400th career win; With video highlights
KEENE, N.H. 11/1/11-Third seeded Keene State College defeated sixth seed Rhode Island College 3-1 in a quarterfinal Little East Conference women's volleyball match at Spaulding Gym on Tuesday night. It was a milestone win for Keene State Coach Bob Weiner, who won his 400th career match.
Keene State (18-12) advances to the semifinal round at Plymouth State University on Saturday (4 p.m.) will they will take on second seed UMass-Boston. The top seeded Panthers will face fifth seed Eastern Conn. State in the second semifinal game at 2 p.m. The Warriors upset fourth seed Western Conn. 3-2 to advance in the tournament.
The Owls, who were upset by the Anchorwomen in a first -round game in 2009, lost the first game 25-23. A KSC hitting error put RIC up 24-22. Senior setter Laurie Whalen (Niantic, Conn.) flipped the ball over the RIC blockers to get the Owls within one point 24-23, but the Anchorwomen won the deciding point on a kill by freshman Lauren Plante (Burrillville, R.I.).
Keene State took over from there, riding the hitting of senior Bridget O'Bryant (Merrimack, N.H.), who finished with 25 kills, one shy of her school record. The Owls took a 22-16 lead on a kill by O'Bryant, who also got the last two points of the game in a 25-20 win by Keene State.
The Owls pulled away from the Anchorwomen midway in the third game on the way to posting a 25-17 win. Senior Ellyse Davis' (Londonderry, N.H.) put-back opened up a five point lead for KSC (17-12). O'Bryant put the game away, winning the final three points on kills.
Keene State held off the Anchorwomen in the fourth game, winning 25-17. Nursing a 19-17 lead, KSC won the final six points on two service aces by freshman Sammy Dormio (Leesburg, Va.) a RIC attack error, a kill by freshman Samantha Branning (Glastonbury, Conn.) and a ball-handling error by the Anchorwomen.
"I like to be able to pick up the team when they need me," said O'Bryant, who also had a strong defensive game with 19 digs and two blocks. "Helping out with a hit, block or a dig definitely feels good."
"Bridget was awesome, she carried us," said Whalen, who finished with 58 assists, three shy of the school record held by her and Jordan Pokryfki. "Coach Weiner told me to go to Bridget. She's our girl tonight."
"We jumped on her back and she carried us home," said Coach Weiner. "Rhode Island College is a small team, so Bridget can hit over them. This is the tournament, so you take advantages of match-ups like that."
As far as his 400th career, Weiner said it's all about the players and winning. "It's about winning championships, that's what we're here to do," said Weiner, whose career mark of 400-369 was recorded in five other schools in addition to Keene State. "I'm glad to reach the milestone, but it's not about me."
Davis complimented O'Bryant with 17 kills for a .531 hitting percentage. She also had four blocks in the match. Senior Kristen Girard (Red Hook, N.H.) added eight kills and 15 digs.
Dormio had another strong game in the back row with 16 digs.
Junior Breanna Boyer (West Greenwich, R.I.) and freshman Marina Stoermer (Seattle, Wash.) each finished with 12 kills for the Anchorwomen (16-13). Junior setter Jessica Ho (Providence, R.I) had 33 assists and 17 digs.