KEENE, N.H.--The Keene State College volleyball team split a tri-match at Spaulding Gym on Saturday afternoon, sweeping Little East Conference foe Western Connecticut State 3-0 (25-19, 25-16, 25-20), before falling short in a comeback effort against Worcester Polytechnic Institute 3-2 (21-25, 18-25, 25-20, 25-23, 13-15).
- Keene State: 17-3, 3-0 LEC
- Western Conn. State: 4-15, 1-2 LEC
- WPI: 8-12
How it Happened - Western Conn. State
The Owls held the Colonials to -.033 hitting for the match, and dominated play at the net, racking up 11 total blocks. Rachel Lamica led the way with 12 kills, 16 digs, and a pair of service aces, while Niamh Dodd and Olivia Mathieu each had eight kills. Kait West had 13 digs, with Bailey Wilson adding 30 assists, seven digs, and three block assists.
The Colonals came out fired up, taking an early 6-4 lead on a Keene State setting error and going up 8-6 on Skylar Kellam's service ace. Keene State surged in front 10-6, as Dodd and Wilson combined for a block on Mikayla Aubrey, then opened up a 15-12 lead on a pair of Western Conn. errors and an ace from Wilson. Keene State never trailed in the set again, opening up a 20-17 lead on a kill from Mathieu before ending the set on a kill by Lamica.
Keene State exploded to a 10-2 lead to begin the second set, scoring the first four points of the set and going up 7-1 as Wilson and Jennifer Severino teamed up to block Kamari King. A kill from Lamica improved the Owl lead to 15-5, before Riley Bunker served up an ace that made it 19-9. Western Conn. did not go away, going on a 7-3 run to close within 22-16, but a kill from Mathieu and two errors from the Colonials handed the Owls the set.
The Owls got off to another strong start in the third set, as Lamica served up consecutive aces for a 7-2 lead, and it was her kill that made it 11-3. The Colonials got back within 16-15 with nine straight points, but Wilson stopped the bleeding with a kill that restored a two point advantage. The Colonials hung around, getting within one again on a kill by Ali Brochu, but the Owls killed off the set with kills from Kelly Hunt and Dodd sandwiched around an ace from Cydnee Morgan.
How it Happened - Worcester Polytechnic Institute
The Owls got 20 more kills from Lamica, along with 12 from Megan Palmer and six from Mathieu. Wilson had 41 assists, while four players reached double-digit digs, starting with Bunker's 24. West and Mathieu both had 14 and Wilson had 13. Dodd led another strong effort at the net with five solo blocks and a block assist.
The Engineers opened up a 9-3 lead in the opening set, with two kills from Melissa Daigle and an ace from Victoria Nassar. Three straight points for the Owls pulled KSC within 13-11, and Dodd's block on Casey Hunt gave Keene State its first lead at 15-14. Severino soared for a kill that gave the Owls a 19-17 lead but the Engineers scored eight of the final 10 points, including the final four for a 25-21 win.T
WPI took a 6-3 lead in the early going of the seccond set, but the Owls rallied to tie it at 10 on Lamica's kill. The Owls never could get in front in the set, as WPI went up 17-14 on a kill by Hunt and 21-17 on a KSC error. WPI netted four of the final five points, including a kill from Amanda Wetmore, to end the set.
The rally caps came on for Keene State in the third set, as Palmer had a kill that made it 7-4, and kills from Palmer and Lamica extended the lead to 13-9. WPI came back to take a 17-16 lead, but Keene State netted the next seven points, taking a 23-17 lead as WPI committed two straight errors. The Engineers scored the next three points, but Lamica kept the Owls in the set with two straight kills that ended the frame.
Keene State kept up the momentum in the fourth set, taking a 6-2 lead as Lamica and Severino blocked Sarah Kwatinetz, before WPI embarked on an 8-1 run to take an 11-7 lead. The Engineer advantage kept growing, to 16-10, before three straight points from the Owls made it 16-13. The lead stayed at three at 20-17 before Keene State netted five points in a row, going up 22-20 on CaseyHunt's error at the net. WPI scored the next two to tie the set again and the team's traded points one last time before Mathieu's kill put it at set point and Dodd blocked Hunt to hand the set to the Owls.
WPI took a 4-2 lead in the fifth and final set, only to see Keene State take an 8-5 lead on kills from Palmer and Lamica. The Engineers tied it at eight before the Owls scored three straight points from an 11-8 ead. WPI came back again, tying it at 11 on a kill from Wetmore. After the teams traded points, Keene State took a 13-12 lead on a kill by Dodd, but the Engineers scored the final three points of the set to take the match.
- It was Keene State's first loss at home this season.
- The win over Western Connecticut State moved the Owls into a tie for first place in the Little East Conference with UMass Boston. The Owls travel to the Beacons on October 18 in a match that could decide the No. 1 seed in the LEC tournament.
- Wilsons 41 assists against WPI marked the fourth time this year she's had at least 40 assists in a match.
- Keene State travels to Colby-Sawyer in a non-conference match on October 12 at 7 p.m.
- The Colonials head to Rhode Island College in October 10, while WPI is off until October 14, when they travel to Endicott for a tri-match with Tufts.